Mechanisms and function of intercellular calcium signaling

Michael J. Sanderson, Andrew C. Charles, Scott Boitano, Ellen R. Dirksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

270 Scopus citations


Intercellular Ca2+ waves initiated by mechanical or chemical stimuli propagate between cells via gap junctions. The ability of a wide diversity of cells to display intercellular Ca2+ waves suggests that these Ca2+ waves may represent a general mechanism by which cells communicate. Although Ca2+ may permeate gap junctions, the intercellular movement of Ca2+ is not essential for the propagation of Ca2+ waves. The messenger that moves from one cell to the next through gap junctions appears to be IP3 and a regenerative mechanism for IP3 may be required to effect multicellular communication. Extracellularly mediated Ca2+ signaling also exists and this could be employed to supplement or replace gap junctional communication. The function of intercellular Ca2+ waves may be the coordination of cooperative cellular responses to local stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1994


  • Airway epithelial cell
  • Calcium wave
  • Gap junction
  • Glia cell
  • Inositol trisphosphate
  • Intercellular communication
  • Mechanical stimulation
  • Oscillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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