Mechanisms and function of intercellular calcium signaling

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1994 Jan;98(2):173-87. doi: 10.1016/0303-7207(94)90136-8.


Intercellular Ca2+ waves initiated by mechanical or chemical stimuli propagate between cells via gap junctions. The ability of a wide diversity of cells to display intercellular Ca2+ waves suggests that these Ca2+ waves may represent a general mechanism by which cells communicate. Although Ca2+ may permeate gap junctions, the intercellular movement of Ca2+ is not essential for the propagation of Ca2+ waves. The messenger that moves from one cell to the next through gap junctions appears to be IP3 and a regenerative mechanism for IP3 may be required to effect multicellular communication. Extracellularly mediated Ca2+ signaling also exists and this could be employed to supplement or replace gap junctional communication. The function of intercellular Ca2+ waves may be the coordination of cooperative cellular responses to local stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate / physiology
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate
  • Calcium