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Intercellular ultrafast Ca(2+) wave in vascular smooth muscle cells: numerical and experimental study.
Vascular smooth muscle cells exhibit intercellular Ca(2+) waves in response to local mechanical or KCl stimulation. Recently, a new type of intercellular Ca(2+) wave was observed in vitro in a linear arrangement of smooth muscle cells. The intercellular wave was denominated ultrafast Ca(2+) wave and it was suggested to be the result of the interplay between membrane potential and Ca(2+) dynamics which depended on influx of extracellular Ca(2+), cell membrane depolarization and its intercel- lular propagation. In the present study we measured experimentally the conduction velocity of the membrane depolarization and performed simulations of the ultrafast Ca(2+) wave along coupled smooth muscle cells. Numerical results reproduced a wide spectrum of experimental observations, including Ca(2+) wave velocity, electrotonic membrane depolarization along the network, effects of inhibitors and independence of the Ca(2+) wave speed on the intracellular stores. The numerical data also provided new physiological insights suggesting ranges of crucial model parameters that may be altered experimentally and that could significantly affect wave kinetics allowing the modulation of the wave characteristics experimentally. Numerical and experimental results supported the hypothesis that the propagation of membrane depolarization acts as an intercellular messenger mediating intercellular ultrafast Ca(2+) waves in smooth muscle cells.
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