Fura-2 imaging microscopy was used to study [Ca2+]i in nerve growth factor-differentiated PC12 cells exposed to agonists (bradykinin, carbamylcholine, and ATP) binding to receptors coupled to polyphosphoinositide hydrolysis. With all the treatments employed, the response to an individual agonist was often incomplete, i.e., composed of either release from intracellular stores or influx only. In individual cells the responses were closely similar when only one and the same agonist was employed, and markedly heterogeneous, with considerable variation of the release/influx ratio, when different agonists were delivered in sequence. In a recently isolated PC12 cell clone, heterogeneity of the receptor-induced [Ca2+]i responses was markedly lower than in the overall population, although the release/influx ratio was still variable. We conclude that the large response heterogeneity observed in the overall PC12 cell population is due (a) to the coexistence of multiple clones; and (b) to the variable activation of intracellular transduction mechanisms.

This content is only available as a PDF.