The hydrogen ion is an important factor in the alteration of vascular tone in pulmonary circulation. Endothelial cells modulate vascular tone by producing vasoactive substances such as prostacyclin (PGI2) through a process depending on intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). We studied the influence of CO2-related pH changes on [Ca2+]i and PGI2 production in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs). Hypercapnic acidosis appreciably increased [Ca2+]i from 112 ± 24 to 157 ± 38 nmol/l. Intracellular acidification at a normal extracellular pH increased [Ca2+]i comparable to that observed during hypercapnic acidosis. The hypercapnia-induced increase in [Ca2+]i was unchanged by the removal of Ca2+ from the extracellular medium or by the depletion of thapsigargin-sensitive intracellular Ca2+ stores. Hypercapnic acidosis may thus release Ca2+ from pH-sensitive but thapsigargin-insensitive intracellular Ca2+ stores. Hypocapnic alkalosis caused a fivefold increase in [Ca2+]i compared with hypercapnic acidosis. Intracellular alkalinization at a normal extracellular pH did not affect [Ca2+]i. The hypocapnia-evoked increase in [Ca2+]i was decreased from 242 ± 56 to 50 ± 32 nmol/l by the removal of extracellular Ca2+. The main mechanism affecting the hypocapnia-dependent [Ca2+]i increase was thought to be the augmented influx of extracellular Ca2+ mediated by extracellular alkalosis. Hypercapnic acidosis caused little change in PGI2 production, but hypocapnic alkalosis increased it markedly. In conclusion, both hypercapnic acidosis and hypocapnic alkalosis increase [Ca2+]i in HPAECs, but the mechanisms and pathophysiological significance of these increases may differ qualitatively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)