Evidence that a Ca2+ sparks/STOCs coupling mechanism is responsible for the inhibitory effect of caffeine on electro-mechanical coupling in guinea pig ureteric smooth muscle.
Borisova L., Shmygol A., Wray S., Burdyga T.
Recent studies have highlighted the role of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in controlling excitability, Ca2+ signalling and contractility in smooth muscle. Caffeine, an agonist of ryanodine receptors (RyRs) on the SR has been previously shown to effect Ca2+ signalling but its effects on excitability and contractility are not so clear. We have studied the effects of low concentration of caffeine (1 mM) on Ca2+ signalling, action potential and contractility of guinea pig ureteric smooth muscle. Caffeine produced reversible inhibition of the action potentials, Ca2+ transients and phasic contractions evoked by electrical stimulation. It had no effect on the inward Ca2+ current or Ca2+ transient but increased the amplitude and the frequency of spontaneous transient outward currents (STOCs) in voltage clamped ureteric myocytes, suggesting Ca2+-activated K+ channels (BK) are affected by it. In isolated cells and cells in situ caffeine produced an increase in the frequency and the amplitude of Ca2+ sparks as well the number of spark discharging sites per cell. Inhibition of Ca2+ sparks by ryanodine (50 microM) or SR Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) cyclopiazonic acid (CPA, 20 microM) or BKCa channels by iberiotoxin (200 nM) or TEA (1 mM), fully reversed the inhibitory effect of caffeine on Ca2+ transients and force evoked by electrical field stimulation (EFS). These data suggest that the inhibitory effect of caffeine on the action potential, Ca2+ transients and force in ureteric smooth muscle is caused by activation of Ca2+ sparks/STOCs coupling mechanism.