Bay K 8644 increases resting Ca2+ spark frequency in ferret ventricular myocytes independent of Ca influx: Contrast with caffeine and ryanodine effects

Hiroshi Satoh, Hideki Katoh, Patricio Velez, Michael Fill, Donald M Bers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Bay K 8644, an L-type Ca2+ channel agonist, was shown previously to increase resting sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ loss and convert post- rest potentiation to decay in dog and ferret ventricular muscle. Here, the effects of Bay K 8644 on local SR Ca2+ release events (Ca2+ sparks) were measured in isolated ferret ventricular myocytes, using laser scanning confocal microscopy and the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator fluo-3. The spark frequency under control conditions was fairly constant during 20 s of rest after interruption of electrical stimulation. Bay K 8644 (100 nmol/L) increased the spark frequency by 466±90% of control at constant SR Ca2+ load but did not change the spatial and temporal characteristics of individual sparks. The increase in spark frequency was maintained throughout the period of rest. The increase in Ca2+ spark frequency induced by Bay K 8644 was not affected by superfusion with Ca2+-free solution (with 10 mmol/L EGTA) but was suppressed by the addition of 10 μmol/L nifedipine (which by itself did not alter resting Ca2+ spark frequency). This suggests that the effect of Bay K 8644 on Ca2+ sparks is mediated by the sarcolemmal dihydropyridine receptor but is also independent of Ca2+ influx. Low concentrations of caffeine (0.5 mmol/L) increased both the average frequency and duration of sparks. Ryanodine (50 nmol/L) increased the spark frequency and also induced long-lasting Ca2+ signals. This may indicate long-lasting openings of SR Ca2+ release channels and a lack of local SR Ca2+ depletion. In lipid bilayers, Bay K 8644 had no effect on either single- channel current amplitude or open probability of the cardiac ryanodine receptor. It is concluded that Bay K 8644 activates SR Ca2+ release at rest, independent of Ca2+ influx and perhaps through a functional linkage between the sarcolemmal dihydropyridine receptor and the SR ryanodine receptor. In contrast, caffeine and ryanodine modulate Ca2+ sparks by a direct action on the SR Ca2+ release channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1204
Number of pages13
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 14 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Dihydropyridine receptor
  • Fluo-3
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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