Although the mechanisms of Ca2+ wave propagation in astrocytes induced by mechanical stimulation have been well studied, it is still not known how the [Ca2+]i increases in the stimulated cells. Here, we have analyzed the mechanisms of [Ca2+]i increase in single, isolated astrocytes. Our results showed that there was an autocrine mechanism of Ca2+ regulation mediated by ATP in mechanically stimulated astrocytes. This autocrine mechanism induced the activation of phospholipase C via a G-protein, resulting in Ca2+ release from intracellular Ca2+ stores. A second pathway mediating a [Ca2+]i increase was via a Ca2+ influx from the extracellular space, which, interestingly, suppressed an intracellular Ca2+ oscillation. These two different Ca2+ cascades are involved in signal transduction and may function separately during intercellular communication.
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