Lower density of L-type and higher density of P/Q-type of calcium channels in chromaffin cells of hypertensive, compared with normotensive rats

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Abstract

Enhanced activity of the sympatho-adrenal axis and augmented circulating catecholamines has been implicated in the development of hypertension. Release of catecholamine from stimulated adrenal medulla chromaffin cells has been shown to be higher and longer in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs), compared with normotensive Wistar rats (NWRs). Whether differences in the functional expression of voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) of the L-, N-, or P/Q subtypes may contribute to such distinct secretory behaviour, is unknown. We therefore approached here this study in voltage-clamped NWR and SHR chromaffin cells, using 10 mM Ba2+ as charge carrier (IBa) and selective blockers of each channel type. We found that compared with NWR cells, SHR chromaffin cells exhibited the following differences: (1) 30% diminution of the IBa fraction carried by L channels; (2) a doubling of the IBa fraction carried by P/Q channels; (3) more visible current modulation by ATP that could be linked to a 10-fold higher mRNA levels for purinergic receptors of the P2Y2 subtype; and (3) a higher contribution of PQ channels to the transients of the cytosolic calcium concentrations ([Ca2+]c) generated by K+, compared with L channels. These results may contribute to the better understanding of the greater calcium signalling and exocytotic responses of SHR compared with NWR chromaffin cells, found in three previous reports from our laboratories.

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