The secretion of insulin from pancreatic β-cells is triggered by the influx of Ca2+ through voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels. The resulting elevation of intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) triggers additional Ca2+ release from internal stores. Less well understood are the mechanisms involved in Ca2+ mobilization from internal stores after activation of Ca2+ influx. The mobilization process is known as calcium-induced calcium release (CICR). In this study, our goal was to investigate the existence of and the role of caffeine-sensitive ryanodine receptors (RyRs) in a rat pancreatic β-cell line, INS-1 cells. To measure cytosolic and stored Ca2+, respectively, cultured INS-1 cells were loaded with fura-2/AM or furaptra/AM. [Ca2+]i was repetitively increased by caffeine stimulation in normal Ca2+ buffer. However, peak [Ca2+]i was only observed after the first caffeine stimulation in Ca2+ free buffer and this increase was markedly blocked by ruthenium red, a RyR blocker. KCl-induced elevations in [Ca2+]i were reduced by pretreatment with ruthenium red, as well as by depletion of internal Ca2+ stores using cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) or caffeine. Caffeine-induced Ca2+ mobilization ceased after the internal stores were depleted by carbamylcholine (CCh) or CPA. In permeabilized INS-1 cells, Ca2+ release from internal stores was activated by caffeine, Ca2+, or ryanodine. Furthermore, ruthenium red completely blocked the CICR response in permeabilized cells. RyRs were widely distributed throughout the intracellular compartment of INS-1 cells. These results suggest that caffeine-sensitive RyRs exist and modulate the CICR response from internal stores in INS-1 pancreatic β-cells
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