We have previously suggested that hyperglycemia per se may contribute to diabetic hypertensive and vascular disease by altering cellular ion content. To more directly investigate the potential role of glucose in this process, we measured cytosolic free calcium in primary cultures of vascular smooth muscle cells isolated from Sprague-Dawley rat tail artery before and after incubation with 5 (basal), 10, 15, and 20 mM glucose. Glucose significantly elevated cytosolic free calcium in a dose- and time-dependent manner, from 110.0 +/- 5.4 to 124.5 +/- 9.0, 192.7 +/- 20.4, and 228.4 +/- 21.9 nM at 5, 10, 15, and 20 mM glucose concentrations, respectively. This glucose-induced cytosolic free calcium elevation was also specific, no change being observed after incubation with equivalent concentrations of L-glucose or mannitol. This glucose effect was also dependent on extracellular calcium and pH, since these calcium changes were inhibited in an acidotic or a calcium-free medium, or by the competitive calcium antagonist lanthanum. We conclude that ambient glucose concentrations within clinically observed limits may alter cellular calcium ion homeostasis in vascular smooth muscle cells. We suggest that these cellular ionic effects of hyperglycemia may underlie the predisposition to hypertension and vascular diseases among diabetic subjects and/or those with impaired glucose tolerance.


M Barbagallo, J Shan, P K Pang, L M Resnick


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