Visualization of neural control of intracellular Ca2+ concentration in single vascular smooth muscle cells in situ

EMBO J. 1994 Nov 1;13(21):5026-31.


The intermittent rise in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i oscillation) has been observed in many types of isolated cells, yet it has not been demonstrated whether it plays an essential role during nerve stimulation in situ. We used confocal microscopy to study Ca2+ transients in individual smooth muscle cells in situ within the wall of small arteries stimulated with perivascular sympathetic nerves or noradrenaline. We show here that the sympathetic adrenergic regulation of arterial smooth muscle cells involves the oscillation of [Ca2+]i that propagates within the cell in the form of a wave. Ca2+ release from intracellular stores plays a key role in the oscillation because it is blocked after the store depletion by ryanodine treatment. Ca2+ influx through the plasma membrane sustains the oscillation by replenishing the Ca2+ stores. These results demonstrate the involvement of [Ca2+]i oscillations in the neural regulation of effector cells within the integrated system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / cytology
  • Arteries / drug effects
  • Arteries / innervation
  • Arteries / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / innervation
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Periodicity*
  • Rats
  • Tail / blood supply
  • Vasomotor System / physiology*


  • Calcium
  • Norepinephrine