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Inositol trisphosphate (IP3) is a Ca2+-mobilizing second messenger shown to modulate atrial muscle contraction and is thought to contribute to atrial fibrillation. Cellular pathways underlying IP3 actions in cardiac tissue remain poorly understood, and the work presented here addresses the question whether IP3-mediated Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum is linked to adenylyl cyclase activity including Ca2+-stimulated adenylyl cyclases (AC1 and AC8) that are selectively expressed in atria and sinoatrial node (SAN). Immunocytochemistry in guinea pig atrial myocytes identified colocalization of type 2 IP3 receptors with AC8, while AC1 was located in close vicinity. Intracellular photorelease of IP3 by UV light significantly enhanced the amplitude of the Ca2+ transient (CaT) evoked by electrical stimulation of atrial myocytes (31 ± 6% increase 60 s after photorelease, n = 16). The increase in CaT amplitude was abolished by inhibitors of adenylyl cyclases (MDL-12,330) or protein kinase A (H89), showing that cAMP signaling is required for this effect of photoreleased IP3. In mouse, spontaneously beating right atrial preparations, phenylephrine, an α-adrenoceptor agonist with effects that depend on IP3-mediated Ca2+ release, increased the maximum beating rate by 14.7 ± 0.5%, n = 10. This effect was substantially reduced by 2.5 µmol/L 2-aminoethyl diphenylborinate and abolished by a low dose of MDL-12,330, observations which are again consistent with a functional interaction between IP3 and cAMP signaling involving Ca2+ stimulation of adenylyl cyclases in the SAN pacemaker. Understanding the interaction between IP3 receptor pathways and Ca2+-stimulated adenylyl cyclases provides important insights concerning acute mechanisms for initiation of atrial arrhythmias.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study provides evidence supporting the proposal that IP3 signaling in cardiac atria and sinoatrial node involves stimulation of Ca2+-activated adenylyl cyclases (AC1 and AC8) by IP3-evoked Ca2+ release from junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum. AC8 and IP3 receptors are shown to be located close together, while AC1 is nearby. Greater understanding of these novel aspects of the IP3 signal transduction mechanism is important for future study in atrial physiology and pathophysiology, particularly atrial fibrillation.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

Publication Date





H95 - H107


Ca2+ signaling, adenylyl cyclase, cardiac atria, cyclic AMP, inositol trisphosphate, Action Potentials, Adenylyl Cyclases, Animals, Biological Clocks, Calcium Signaling, Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases, Guinea Pigs, Heart Atria, Heart Rate, Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate, Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors, Isoenzymes, Male, Mice, Myocytes, Cardiac, Sarcoplasmic Reticulum, Sinoatrial Node, Time Factors