General physiology and biophysics. vol:18 issue:2 pages:199-208
We have used combined patch clamp and fura-2 fluorescence to elucidate the role of membrane potential in the regulation of the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in a human umbilical vein derived endothelial cell-line, EA.hy926 (EA cells) stimulated with vasoactive agonists, such as ATP, histamine and bradykinin. This stimulation caused hyperpolarization and sustained Ca2+ plateau in nonclamped cells. Clamping agonist-stimulated cells at negative potentials enhanced the amplitude of this plateau, whereas it was smaller at more depolarized potentials, indicating that Ca2+ influx follows its driving force. Depolarization of the membrane by increasing extracellular K+ or by applying charybdotoxin, a blocker of big conductance Ca2+-dependent K+ channels during agonist stimulation diminished the plateau rise in [Ca2+]i. It is concluded that the membrane potential is an efficient regulator of Ca2+ influx during the plateau phase of agonist-mediated Ca2+ signals. In addition, the modulating effects on Ca2+ signals should be interpreted with caution if the membrane potential of the cells is not controlled.