In response to mechanical stimulation of a single cell, intercellular Ca2+ waves propagate through airway epithelial and glial cell cultures, providing a mechanism for intercellular communication. Experiments indicate that intercellular propagation of the Ca2+ wave is mediated by the movement of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) through gap junctions. To explore the validity of this hypothesis, we have constructed and solved a system of partial differential equations that models the Ca2+ changes induced by the movement of IP3 between cells. The model is in good qualitative agreement with experimental data, including the behavior of the wave in the absence of extracellular Ca2+, the shape of the subsequent asynchronous Ca2+ oscillations, and the passage of a wave through a cell exhibiting Ca2+ oscillations. However, the concentration of IP3 that is required in each cell to propagate the wave may not be achieved by passive diffusion of IP3 through gap junctions from the stimulated cell. We therefore suggest that Ca(2+)-independent regenerative production of IP3 might be necessary for the propagation of intercellular Ca2+ waves.
- Copyright © 1994 the American Physiological Society