Coding of time-varying hormonal signals in intracellular calcium spike trains

Pac Symp Biocomput. 1998;633-44.


In a variety of cell types extracellular hormonal stimuli varying in time are transfered across the cell membrane into repetitive spikes of the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). Distinct temporal patterns of [Ca2+]i spikes are capable of regulating the function and structure of target cells. Here, we investigate the ability of transmembrane signaling to encode time-varying hormonal stimulations (bandlimited Gaussian white noise) in a model of receptor-controlled [Ca2+]i oscillations. The encoding of hormonal signals in [Ca2+]i spike trains is quantified by using an information-theoretic approach allowing to estimate the hormonal stimulus from [Ca2+]i spike trains. Our results suggest that intracellular [Ca2+]i spike trains convey faithful information on temporal variations of extracellular hormonal concentrations at scales of 30-200 sec, corresponding to cut-off frequencies between 5 and 30 mHz of the random hormonal stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Guanosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Type C Phospholipases / metabolism


  • Hormones
  • Guanosine Diphosphate
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Calcium