Journal article

Mechanisms of Propagation of Intercellular Calcium Waves in Arterial Smooth Muscle Cells

In rat mesenteric arteries, smooth muscle cells exhibit intercellular calcium waves in response to local phenylephrine stimulation. These waves have a velocity of similar to 20 cells/s and a range of similar to 80 cells. We analyze these waves in a theoretical model of a population of coupled smooth muscle cells, based on the hypothesis that the wave results from cell membrane depolarization propagation. We study the underlying mechanisms and highlight the importance of voltage-operated channels, calcium-induced calcium release, and chloride channels. Our model is in agreement with experimental observations, and we demonstrate that calcium waves presenting a velocity of similar to 20 cells/s can be mediated by electrical coupling. The wave velocity is limited by the time needed for calcium influx through voltage-operated calcium channels and the subsequent calcium-induced calcium release, and not by the speed of the depolarization spreading. The waves are partially regenerated, but have a spatial limit in propagation. Moreover, the model predicts that a refractory period of calcium signaling may significantly affect the wave appearance.


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