Do caged-Ca2+ compounds mimic the physiological stimulus for secretion?

A. F. Oberhauser, I. M. Robinson, J. M. Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We measured the exocytotic response induced by a rapid and global increase in the concentration of Ca2+ or GTPγS (achieved by flash photolysis of caged compounds) in mast cells and chromaffin cells. Secretion was measured by following both cell membrane capacitance and amperometry. When Ca2+ was used to trigger secretion, we observed an immediate increase in capacitance, however, the first amperometric spike observed was delayed with respect to the change in capacitance (∼5 s in mast cells and ∼0.6 s in chromaffin cells). In contrast, when GTPγS was used to trigger secretion no such discrepancy was seen, both measurements reported a secretory response that was similarly delayed with respect to the stimulus. These data suggest that the capacitance increase, when triggered by a large Ca2+ step, reports events that do not result in the fusion of vesicles containing oxidizable substances. These results contrast with the smaller secretory responses evoked by the transient opening of Ca2+ channels. Under these more physiological conditions, pulsed-laser imaging studies revealed that the Ca2+ influx was localized to discrete areas at the plasma membrane. Thus the Ca2+ stimulus triggered by DM-nitrophen fails to reproduce the small localized changes seen during a physiological stimulation and creates an artifactual non-secretory capacitive response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physiology - Paris
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • caged calcium
  • capacitance
  • fusion pore
  • patch-clamp
  • secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • General Neuroscience


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