Mechanical stimulation and intercellular communication increases intracellular Ca2+ in epithelial cells

Cell Regul. 1990 Jul;1(8):585-96. doi: 10.1091/mbc.1.8.585.


Intercellular communication of epithelial cells was examined by measuring changes in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). Mechanical stimulation of respiratory tract ciliated cells in culture induced a wave of increasing Ca2+ that spread, cell by cell, from the stimulated cell to neighboring cells. The communication of these Ca2+ waves between cells was restricted or blocked by halothane, an anesthetic known to uncouple cells. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, the mechanically stimulated cell showed no change or a decrease in [Ca2+]i, whereas [Ca2+]i increased in neighboring cells. Iontophoretic injection of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) evoked a communicated Ca2+ response that was similar to that produced by mechanical stimulation. These results support the hypothesis that IP3 acts as a cellular messenger that mediates communication through gap junctions between ciliated epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication* / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Halothane / pharmacology
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate / physiology
  • Intercellular Junctions / metabolism
  • Microinjections
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Rabbits
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trachea / cytology
  • Trachea / metabolism*


  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate
  • Calcium
  • Halothane