To examine mechanisms whereby the abundance of functional Ca channels may be regulated in excitable tissue, Ca channel number was estimated by binding of the dihydropyridine (DHP) antagonist 3H (+)PN200-110 to monolayers of intact myocytes from chick embryo ventricle. Beta adrenergic receptor properties were studied in cultured myocytes using [3H]CGP12177, an antagonist ligand. Physiological correlates for alterations in DHP binding site number included 45Ca uptake and contractile response to (+)BAYk 8644, a specific L-type Ca channel activator. All binding and physiological determinations were performed in similar intact cell preparations under identical conditions. 4-h exposure to 1 microM isoproterenol reduced cell surface beta-adrenergic receptor number from 44 +/- 3 to 17 +/- 2 fmol/mg (P less than 0.05); DHP binding sites declined in number from 113 +/- 25 to 73 +/- 30 fmol/mg (P less than 0.03). When protein kinase A was activated by a non-receptor-dependent mechanism, DHP binding declined similarly to 68% of control. Exposure to diltiazem, a Ca channel antagonist, for 18-24 h had no effect on number of DHP binding sites. After 4-h isoproterenol exposure, 45Ca uptake stimulated by BAYk 8644 declined from 3.3 +/- 0.2 nmol/mg to 2.9 +/- 0.3 nmol/mg (P less than 0.01) and BAYk 8644-stimulated increase in amplitude of contraction declined from 168 +/- 7 to 134 +/- 11% (P = 0.02). Thus, elevation of [cAMP] in myocytes is associated with a time-dependent decline in Ca channel abundance as estimated by DHP binding and a decline in physiological responses that are in part dependent on abundance of Ca channels. Binding of a directly acting Ca channel antagonist for 18-24 h does not modulate the number of DHP binding sites.


J D Marsh


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