Ethanol-induced mobilization of calcium by activation of phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C in intact hepatocytes

J. B. Hoek, A. P. Thomas, R. Rubin, E. Rubin

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157 Scopus citations


The short-term effects of ethanol on calcium homeostasis were studied in isolated hepatocytes. Ethanol caused a rapid transient activation of phosphorylase not associated with changes in cAMP levels which peaked after 20-30 s and declined slowly over a period of 5-10 min. Maximal activation was found with 200 mM ethanol, and a significant effect was observed at 25 mM ethanol. Similar effects were induced by other organic solvents and by halothane, with more hydrophobic agents being effective at lower concentrations. In hepatocytes loaded with the intracellular calcium indicator quin2, the addition of ethanol caused a transient increase in cytosolic free calcium, with a kinetic pattern compatible with its involvement in the activation of phosphorylase. Pretreatment of the hepatocytes with phenylephrine or vasopressin to deplete the hormone-sensitive calcium pools in the cells prevented the ethanol-induced calcium mobilization. In 32P-labeled hepatocytes addition of ethanol caused a small (5-7%) decrease in the level of [32P]phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate and a 10-15% increase in [32P]phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate and [32P]phosphatidic acid. In hepatocytes labeled with myo-[3H]inositol, ethanol induced a 50-100% increase in the levels of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, inositol 1,3,4-trisphosphate, and inositol bisphosphate. The changes in the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate level due to ethanol paralleled the time course of the elevation of cytosolic free calcium levels and activation of phosphorylase a. The effects of ethanol were comparable to those of a physiologic (1 nM) dose of vasopressin; however, unlike with vasopressin, the inositol phosphates and cytosolic calcium levels declined to basal levels 2 min after the addition of ethanol. These results indicate that ethanol, in common with calcium-mobilizing hormones, activates hormone-sensitive phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C. The resulting changes in inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate can account for the mobilization of intracellular calcium and the consequent activation of phosphorylase by ethanol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-691
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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