Adrenergic stimulation of rat resistance arteries affects Ca2+ sparks, Ca2+ waves, and Ca2+ oscillations

Joseph R.H. Mauban, Christine Lamont, C. William Balke, W. Gil Wier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Confocal laser scanning microscopy and fluo 4 were used to visualize local and whole Cell Ca2+ transients within individual smooth muscle cells (SMC) of intact, pressurized rat mesenteric small arteries during activation of α1-adrenoceptors. A method was developed to record the Ca2+ transients within individual SMC during the changes in arterial diameter. Three distinct types of "Ca2+ signals" were influenced by adrenergic activation (agonist: Phenylephrine). First, asynchronous Ca2+ transients were elicited by low levels of adrenergic stimulation. These propagated from a point of origin and then filled the cell. Second, synchronous, spatially uniform Ca2+ transients, not reported previously, occurred at higher levels of adrenergic stimulation and continued for long periods during oscillatory vasomotion. Finally, Ca2+ sparks slowly decreased in frequency of occurrence during exposure to adrenergic agonists. Thus adrenergic activation causes a decrease in the frequency of Ca2+ sparks and an increase in the frequency of asynchronous wavelike Ca2+ transients, both of which should tend to decrease arterial diameter. Oscillatory vasomotion is associated with spatially uniform synchronous oscillations of cellular [Ca2+] and may have a different mechanism than the asynchronous, propagating Ca2+ transients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2399-H2405
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 49-5
StatePublished - May 2001


  • Artery
  • Calcium transient
  • Mesenteric artery
  • Smooth muscle
  • Smooth muscle cells


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