Calcium efflux has been studied in squid giant axons under conditions in which the internal composition was controlled by means of a dialysis perfusion technique. The mean calcium efflux from axons dialyzed with 0.3 µM calcium and 5 mM ATP was 0.26 pmol/cm2·s at 22°C. The curve relating the Ca efflux with the internal Ca concentration had a slope of about one for [Ca]i lower than 0.3µM and a slope smaller than one for higher concentrations. Under the above conditions replacement of [Na]o and [Ca]o by Tris and Mg causes an 80% fall in the calcium efflux. When the axons were dialyzed with a medium free of ATP and containing 2 mM cyanide plus 5µg/ml oligomycin, analysis of the perfusion effluent gave values of 1–4 µM ATP. Under this low ATP condition, replacement of external sodium and calcium causes the same drop in the calcium efflux. The same effect was observed at higher [Ca]i, (80 µM). These results suggest that the Na-Ca exchange component of the calcium efflux is apparently not dependent on the amounts of ATP in the axoplasm. Axons previously depleted of ATP show a significant transient drop in the calcium efflux when ATP is added to the dialysis medium. This effect probably represents the sequestering of calcium by the mitochondrial system. The consumption of calcium by the mitochondria of the axoplasm in dialyzed axons was determined to be of the order of 6.0 x 10-7 mol Ca++/mg of protein with an initial rate of 2.6 x 10-8 mol Ca++/min·mg of protein. Axons dialyzed with 2 mM cyanide after 8–10-min delays show a rise in the calcium efflux in the presence of "normal" amounts of exogenous ATP. This effect seems to indicate that cyanide, per se, can release calcium ions from internal sources.

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