Journal article

Intercellular ultrafast Ca2+ wave in vascular smooth muscle cells: numerical and experimental study

Vascular smooth muscle cells exhibit intercellular Ca2+ waves in response to local mechanical or KCl stimulation. Recently, a new type of intercellular Ca2+ wave was observed in vitro in a linear arrangement of smooth muscle cells. The intercellular wave was denominated ultrafast Ca2+ wave and it was suggested to be the result of the interplay between membrane potential and Ca2+ dynamics which depended on influx of extracellular Ca2+, cell membrane depolarization and its intercellular propagation. In the present study we measured experimentally the conduction velocity of the membrane depolarization and performed simulations of the ultrafast Ca2+ wave along coupled smooth muscle cells. Numerical results reproduced a wide spectrum of experimental observations, including Ca2+ wave velocity, electrotonic membrane depolarization along the network, effects of inhibitors and independence of the Ca2+ wave speed on the intracellular stores. The numerical data also provided new physiological insights suggesting ranges of crucial model parameters that may be altered experimentally and that could significantly affect wave kinetics allowing the modulation of the wave characteristics experimentally. Numerical and experimental results supported the hypothesis that the propagation of membrane depolarization acts as an intercellular messenger mediating intercellular ultrafast Ca2+ waves in smooth muscle cells.


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