Inhibition of calcium signalling in murine splenocytes by polyamines: Differential effects on CD4 and CD8 T-cells

T. Thomas, U. B. Gunnia, E. J. Yurkow, J. R. Seibold, T. J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Transmembrane Ca2+ influx is recognized as a universal second messenger that transduces T-cell activation signals to cytoplasm and nucleus, thereby stimulating transcription and cell division. To examine the role of endogenous factors that regulate mitogenic Ca2+ signalling of T-cells, we measured the concanavalin (Con) A-induced increase in cytoplasmic free calcium ([Ca2+](i)) in spleen cells of BALB/c mice, using flow cytometry with an indicator dye, Indo-1 acetoxymethyl ester (Indo-1/AM). Con A is a polyclonal activator of T-cells. Unstimulated splenocytes had a [Ca2+](i) of 100 nM. [Ca2+](i) increased with Con A in a dose-dependent manner up to a concentration of 50 μg/ml. In the presence of 50 μg/ml Con A, [Ca2+](i) was 350 nM. Natural polyamines (putrescine, spermidine and spermine) inhibited Con A-induced Ca2+ influx in a dose-dependent manner. Putrescine was the most effective polyamine in densensitizing the Ca2+ signal, and decreased [Ca2+](i) from 350 nM in the absence of putrescine to 250 nM in the presence of 100 μM putrescine. This effect was not mimicked by structurally related homologues or inorganic cations, suggesting a specific structural effect of the polyamine. H.p.l.c. analysis showed that polyamines were internalized during incubation of cells in vitro. In experiments using monoclonal anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 antibodies, we found a differential effect of putrescine on Ca2+ influx in CD4 and CD8 subpopulations of T cells. For CD4+ cells, [Ca2+]. decreased from 625 nM to 420 nM in the presence of 500 μM putrescine, whereas [Ca2+](i) was not affected by putrescine in CD8+ cells. These data suggest that natural polyamines have cell-specific effects on mitogen-stimulated Ca2+-influx in T-cell subsets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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