Hydrostatic pressure-induced release of stored calcium in cultured rat optic nerve head astrocytes

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29 Scopus citations


Purpose. Elevated intraocular pressure is associated with glaucomatous optic nerve damage. Other investigators have shown functional changes in optic nerve head astrocytes subjected to elevated hydrostatic pressure (HP) for 1 to 5 days. Recently, the authors reported ERK1/2, p90RSK and NHE1 phosphorylation after 2 hours. Here they examine calcium responses at the onset of HP to determine what precedes ERK1/2 phosphorylation.Methods. Cytoplasmic calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) was measured in cultured rat optic nerve astrocytes loaded with fura-2. The cells were placed in a closed imaging chamber and subjected to an HP increase of 15 mm Hg. Protein phosphorylation was detected by Western blot analysis.Results. The increase of HP caused an immediate slow increase in [Ca2+]i. The response persisted in calcium-free solution and when nickel chloride (4 mM) was added to suppress channel-mediated calcium entry. Previous depletion of the ER calcium stores by cyclopiazonic acid abolished the HP-induced calcium level increase. The HP-induced increase persisted in cells exposed to xestospongin C, an inhibitor of IP3R-mediated calcium release. In contrast, ryanodine receptor (RyR) antagonist ruthenium red (10 /xM) or dantrolene (25 fxM) inhibited the HP-induced calcium increase. The HP-induced calcium increase was abolished when ryanodine-sensitive calcium stores were pre-depleted with caffeine (3 mM). HP caused ERK1/2 phosphorylation. The magnitude of the ERK1/2 phosphorylation response was reduced by ruthenium red and dantrolene. Conclusions. Increasing HP causes calcium release from a ryanodine-sensitive cytoplasmic store and subsequent ERK1/2 activation. Calcium store release appears to be a required early step in the initial astrocyte response to an HP increase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3129-3138
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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