BACKGROUND: To investigate the mechanisms of oxytocin (OT) induced oscillations of the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in cultured human myometrial cells.
METHODS: [Ca2+]i was measured in individual myometrial cells by dual wavelength spectrophotofluorometry using the fluorescent indicator fura-2. Myometrium was obtained at abdominal hysterectomy (n=8) and during cesarean section (n=7).
RESULTS: OT (10-300 nM) typically induced [Ca2+]i oscillations with frequencies in the 0.6-0.8/min range. There were no obvious differences in the responses of cells taken from non-pregnant and term pregnant women. The frequency and amplitude of the oscillations were not significantly affected by OT concentrations up to 300 nM. The amplitude of the oscillations decreased in the presence of the voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel antagonist verapamil and gradually disappeared in Ca2+-free medium. The oscillations were further blocked by the inorganic Ca2+ antagonist La3+ and by the intracellular Ca2+-ATPase inhibitor 2.5-di-tert-butylhydroquinone (DTBHQ). Caffeine inhibited the OT-induced oscillations in a concentration-dependent manner. DTBHQ and high concentrations of OT made [Ca2+]i remarkably sensitive to changes in the external Ca2+ concentration.
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that OT-induced [Ca2+]i oscillations in human myometrial cells are due to inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-mediated release of intracellular Ca2+ combined with capacitative as well as voltage-dependent influx of the ion.
2000. Vol. 79, no 3