Mechanism of arachidonic acid-induced Ca2+ mobilization from rat liver microsomes

Kwok Ming Chan, John Turk

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Recent evidence indicates that unesterified arachidonic acid functions as a mediator of intracellular Ca2+ mobilization by inducing Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum of pancreatic islet beta cells in a manner closely similar to that of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate. To test the generality and explore the mechanism of this phenomenon we have examined the effects of arachidonic acid on calcium accumulation and release by hepatocyte subcellular fractions enriched in endoplasmic reticulum (microsomes). At concentrations above 0.017 μmol/mg microsomal protein, arachidonate induced rapid (under 2 min) 45Ca2+ release from microsomes that had been preloaded with 45Ca2+. Arachidonate also suppressed microsomal 45Ca2+ accumulation when present during the loading period, as reflected by reduction both of 45Ca2+ accumulation at steady state and of the rate of uptake. Neither the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin nor the lipoxygenase/cyclooxygenase inhibitor BW755C suppressed arachidonate-induced 45Ca2+ release, indicating that this effect was not dependent upon oxygenation of the fatty acid to metabolites. The long-chain unsaturated fatty acids oleate and linoleate were less potent than arachidonate in inducing 45Ca2+ release, and the saturated fatty acid stearate did not exert this effect. Albumin prevented 45Ca2+ release by arachidonate, presumably by binding the fatty acid. As is the case for inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, the ability of arachidonate to induce 45Ca2+ release was dependent on the ambient free Ca2+ concentration. Arachidonate did not influence microsomal membrane permeability or Ca2+-ATPase activity and may exert its effects on microsomal Ca2+ handling by activation of a Ca2+ extrusion mechanism or by dissociating Ca2+ uptake from Ca2+-ATPase activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-193
Number of pages8
JournalBBA - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 22 1987


  • (Rat liver microsome)
  • Arachidonate
  • Calcium ion mobilization


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