The sulfhydryl reagent thimerosal enhanced the sensitivity of hamster eggs to injected inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3) or Ca2+ to generate regenerative Ca2+ release from intracellular pools. A monoclonal antibody (mAb) to the InsP3 receptor blocked both the InsP3-induced Ca2+ release (IICR) and Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR). The mAb also blocked Ca2+ oscillations induced by thimerosal. The results indicate that thimerosal enhances IICR sensitized by cytosolic Ca2+, but not CICR from InsP3-insensitive pools, and causes repetitive Ca2+ releases from InsP3-sensitive pools.
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