Original Article

Ca2+ sparks and Ca2+ glows in superior cervical ganglion neurons

Authors: Li-jun Yao, Gang Wang, Kun-fu Ou-yang, Chao-liang Wei, Xian-hua Wang, Shi-rong Wang, Wei Yao, Hong-ping Huang, Jian-hong Luo, Cai-hong Wu, Jie Liu, Zhuan Zhou, He-ping Cheng


Aim: Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an integral component of neuronal Ca2+ signaling. The present study is to investigate properties of local Ca2+ release events in superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons.
Methods: Primary cultured SCG neurons were prepared from neonatal rats (P3-P7). Low concentration of caffeine was used to induce Ca2+ release from the ER Ca2+ store, and intracellular Ca2+was recorded by high-resolution line scan confocal imaging and the Ca2+ indicator Fluo-4.
Results: Two populations of local Ca2+ release events with distinct temporal characteristics were evoked by 1.5 mmol/L caffeine near the surface membrane in the soma and the neurites of SCG neurons. Brief events similar to classic Ca2+ sparks lasted a few hundreds of milliseconds, whereas long-lasting events displayed duration up to tens of seconds. Typical somatic and neurite sparks were of 0.3- and 0.52-fold increase in local Fluo-4 fluorescence, respectively. Typical Ca2+ glows were brighter (ΔF/F0 approximately 0.6), but were highly confined in space. The half maximum of full duration of neurite sparks was much longer than those in the soma (685 vs 381 ms).
Conclusion: Co-existence of Ca2+ sparks and Ca2+ glows in SCG neurons indicates distinctive local regulation of Ca2+ release kinetics. The local Ca2+ signals of variable, site-specific temporal length may bear important implications in encoding a "memory" of the trigger signal.

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