Effects of osmotic swelling on voltage-gated calcium channel currents in rat anterior pituitary cells.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.
AJP Cell Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.71). 11/2003; 285(4):C840-52. DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00101.2003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Decrease in extracellular osmolarity ([Os]e) results in stimulation of hormone secretion from pituitary cells. Different mechanisms can account for this stimulation of hormone secretion. In this study we examined the possibility that hyposmolarity directly modulates voltage-gated calcium influx in pituitary cells. The effects of hyposmolarity on L-type (IL) and T-type (IT) calcium currents in pituitary cells were investigated by using two hyposmotic stimuli, moderate (18-22% decrease in [Os]e) and strong (31-32% decrease in [Os]e). Exposure to moderate hyposmotic stimuli resulted in three response types in IL (a decrease, a biphasic effect, and an increase in IL) and in increase in IT. Exposure to strong hyposmotic stimuli resulted only in increases in both IL and IT. Similarly, in intact pituitary cells (perforated patch method), exposure to either moderate or strong hyposmotic stimuli resulted only in increases in both IL and IT. Thus it appears that the main effect of decrease in [Os]e is increase in calcium channel currents. This increase was differential (IL were more sensitive than IT) and voltage independent. In addition, we show that these hyposmotic effects cannot be explained by activation of an anionic conductance or by an increase in cell membrane surface area. In conclusion, this study shows that hyposmotic swelling of pituitary cells can directly modulate voltage-gated calcium influx. This hyposmotic modulation of IL and IT may contribute to the previously reported hyposmotic stimulation of hormone secretion. The mechanisms underlying these hyposmotic effects and their possible physiological relevance are discussed.

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