A 16-pS channel was studied using patch-clamp electrophysiology in freshly dissociated rat liver cells and rat hepatoma cells. The channel was found to be cation selective and permeable to Na+, K+, and Ca2+. Its gating was unaffected by addition of the calcium ionophore A23187 (5 microM) in the presence of extracellular Ca2+ (2 mM). Ca2+ channel blockers, nifedipine, verapamil, and lanthanum, failed to inhibit the channel. The channel was activated by stretch, applied as suction to the interior of the patch pipette, and by cell swelling, induced by hypotonic shock or organic solute uptake (10 mM L-alanine). Channel activation by cell swelling was transient, lasting approximately 1 min. An elevation in cytosolic Ca2+ was evoked by hypotonic shock, as measured using the fluorescent indicator indo-1/AM. This change in intracellular Ca2+ concentration was dependent on extracellular Ca2+. Inasmuch as the time course for this response corresponded to that of channel activation, it is likely that hypotonic shock stimulated Ca2+ influx through the stretch-activated channel. To determine the role for Ca2+ influx in regulatory volume decrease (RVD), cell volume changes after hypotonic shock were studied using a Coulter counter. RVD was slightly but significantly inhibited by depletion of extracellular Ca2+. On the basis of these results it is proposed that stretch-activated channels in liver cells permit the transient influx of Ca2+, which in turn acts to trigger changes in ion conductance or cytoskeletal components involved in cell volume regulation.
- Copyright © 1990 the American Physiological Society