Slow intercellular Ca2+ signaling in wild-type and Cx43-null neonatal mouse cardiac myocytes

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35 Scopus citations


Focal mechanical stimulation of single neonatal mouse cardiac myocytes in culture induced intercellular Ca2+ waves that propagated with mean velocities of ~14 μm/s, reaching ~80% of the cells in the field. Deletion of connexin43 (Cx43), the main cardiac gap junction channel protein, did not prevent communication of mechanically induced Ca2+ waves, although the velocity and number of cells communicated by the Ca2+ signal were significantly reduced. Similar effects were observed in wild-type cardiac myocytes treated with heptanol, a gap junction channel blocker. Fewer cells were involved in intercellular Ca2+ signaling in both wild-type and Cx43-null cultures in the presence of suramin, a P2-receptor blocker; blockage was more effective in Cx43-null than in wild-type cells. Thus gap junction channels provide the main pathway for communication of slow intercellular Ca2+ signals in wild-type neonatal mouse cardiac myocytes. Activation of P2-receptors induced by ATP release contributes a secondary, extracellular pathway for transmission of Ca2+ signals. The importance of such ATP-mediated Ca2+ signaling would be expected to be enhanced under ischemic conditions, when release of ATP is increased and gap junction channels conductance is significantly reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H3076-H3088
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 48-6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Calcium waves
  • Connexin
  • Gap junctions
  • Intercellular communication
  • Purinergic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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