We examined the effects of cyclic AMP (cAMP) on the intracellular Ca2+ release in both the intact and skinned arterial smooth muscle. The amount of Ca2+ in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) was estimated indirectly by caffeine-induced contraction of the skinned preparation and directly by caffeine-stimulated 45Ca efflux from the previously labeled skinned preparation. The norepinephrine-induced release contraction was markedly enhanced by dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP) and reduced by propranolol. The stimulatory effect of dbcAMP was best observed when the muscle was exposed to 10(-5) M dbcAMP and 2 X 10(-6) M norepinephrine was used to induce the release contraction. 10(-5) M cAMP had no effect on the Ca2+-induced contraction or on the pCa-tension relationship in the skinned preparation. This concentration of cAMP increased Ca2+ uptake into the SR of the skinned preparation when the Ca2+ in the SR was first depleted. 10(-5) M cAMP stimulated Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release from the SR after optimal Ca2+ accumulation by the SR. The results indicate that the stimulatory effect of cAMP on the norepinephrine-induced release contraction could be due to enhancement of the Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release from the SR in arterial smooth muscle.

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