Hypoxia sensing and pathways of cytosolic Ca2+ increases

Emil Toescu

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Oxygen-sensing and reactivity to changes in the concentration of oxygen is a fundamental property of cellular physiology. This central role is determined, mainly, by, to the fact that oxygen represents the final acceptor of electrons, derived from the normal cellular metabolism, at the end of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Despite significant advances in molecular characterization of various oxygen-sensitive processes, the nature of the oxygen-sensor molecules and the mechanisms that link sensors to effects remains unclear. One such controversy is about the role and nature of reactive oxygen species (ROS) changes during hypoxia. Irrespective of the mechanisms of oxygen sensing, one of the constant early responses to hypoxia in almost all cell types is an increase in intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+](j)). In many instances, this increase is mediated by the activation of various plasma membrane Ca2+ conductances. Some of these channels have specific Ca2+ permeability (e.g. voltage-operated Ca2+ channels), whereas others have non-specific cation conductances and are activated by a variety of ligands (ligand-operated channels). In the last decade, a large superfamily of channels with significant Ca2+ permeability has been progressively identified and characterised: the TRP channels. Through their properties, some groups of the TRP channels provide a link to the other hypoxia-activated mechanism of [Ca2+], increase: the release of Ca2+ from intracellular Ca2+ stores. Since the [Ca2+], signals, depending on their localization and intensity, are important regulators of the subsequent cellular responses to hypoxia, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms through which hypoxia regulate the activity of these pathways that increase intracellular Ca2+ could point the way towards the development of new therapeutic approaches to reduce or suppress the pathological effects of cellular hypoxia, such as those seen in stroke or myocardial ischemia. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-199
    Number of pages13
    JournalCell Calcium
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


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