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Dihydropyridine Modulation of Voltage-Activated Calcium Channels in PC12 Cells: Effect of Pertussis Toxin Pretreatment


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. G. Schettini at Institute of Pharmacology, II School of Medicine, Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.


Abstract: In this study, we report the effect of pertussis toxin pretreatment on dihydropyridine modulation of voltage-sensitive calcium channels in PC12 cells. The rise in intracellular calcium concentration caused by potassium depolarization is not affected significantly by pertussis toxin pretreatment. Nicardipine, a dihydropyridine derivative, added either before or after potassium-induced depolarization, reduces the resultant elevation in cytosolic calcium level both in control and in pertussis toxin-treated cells. The dihydropyridine agonist Bay K 8644, when added before potassium, is able to enhance the potassium-induced spike of cytosolic calcium levels, an effect significantly reduced by pertussis toxin pretreatment. Moreover, the addition of Bay K 8644 after potassium holds the intracellular calcium concentration at a cytosolic sustained level during the slow inactivating phase of depolarization. This effect of Bay K 8644 is inhibited by nicardipine. Pertussis toxin pretreatment slightly weakens the effect of Bay K 8644 when added after potassium-induced depolarization, whereas it significantly reduces the nicardipine inhibition of cytosolic calcium rise stimulated by potassium and Bay K 8644, but not by potassium alone. In conclusion, our findings suggest that a pertussis toxin-sensitive guanine nucleotide regulatory protein could be involved in the interaction between dihydropyridine derivatives and voltage-dependent calcium channels.