Investigation on Pre- and Postsynaptic Ca2+ Signaling in Neuronal Model Systems

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Communication between neuronal and non-neuronal is called volume transmission when the released neurotransmitter (NT) acts via diffusion and affects several target cells. Both the neurosecretory and postsynaptic cell responses are linked to [Ca2+]i elevations. In the present thesis the role of pre-and postsynaptic Ca2+ elevations has been investigated in the reconstituted "synapse" model comprised of NGF-differentiated PC12 and HEL cells as well as in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. In PC12 cells, both 70mM K+ and nicotine triggered NT release, which could be detected as a secondary [Ca2+]i increase in surrounding HEL cells. Both secretagogues shared the same voltage-dependent Ca2+ influx pathway as judged from the pharmacological profile blockers of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. The coupling of electrical responses to the activation of Ca2+ signaling via muscarinic receptors in SH-SY5Y cells was also studied. These data revealed that depolarization caused a considerable potentiation of the muscarinic Ca2+ response. The potentiated Ca2+ increase was mainly dependent on the enhanced Ca2+ influx and to a lesser extent on [Ca2+]i release from intracellular stores. A phospholipase C (PLC) activator, m-3M3FBS was used to further study the role of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR)-coupled Ca2+ signaling. However, it was found that m-3M3FBS instead triggered [Ca2+]i elevations independently of PLC activation. In conclusion, the results indicate that the magnitude of NT release from PC12 cells is sufficient to cause a robust activation of neighboring target cells. Postsynaptic muscarinic signaling is amplified due to integration of electrical excitation and GPCR signaling. The PLC activator, m-3M3FBS is not suitable for studies of PLC-mediated signals in intact cells.

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