Hepatocytes were isolated from rats and then loaded with the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator quin2. Glucagon caused a sustained increase (at least 5 min) in the fluorescence of the quin2-loaded cells; the increase was much greater than that observed with control, non-quin2-loaded, cells. These observations indicate that glucagon caused an increase in cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration [(Ca2+]c). The effects of glucagon were mimicked if forskolin (to activate adenylate cyclase), dibutyryl cyclic AMP or bromo cyclic AMP were added directly to the cells. Thus an increase in cyclic AMP concentration may mediate the effect of glucagon on [Ca2+]c. If 4 beta-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA; an activator of protein kinase C) was added to the cells before glucagon, the magnitude of the increase in [Ca2+]c was greatly diminished. If PMA was added after glucagon it caused a lowering of [Ca2+]c. These effects of PMA on the glucagon-induced increase in [Ca2+]c could not be mimicked if [Ca2+]c was increased by the Ca2+-ionophore ionomycin. Thus an event involved in the mechanism by which glucagon increases [Ca2+]c appears to be required for the action of PMA. If [Ca2+]c was increased by forskolin, dibutyryl cyclic AMP or bromo cyclic AMP, the effect of PMA on [Ca2+]c was similar to that observed when glucagon was used to elevate [Ca2+]c. When [Ca2+]c was raised by dibutyryl cyclic AMP the presence of the phosphodiesterase inhibitor 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine did not prevent the subsequent addition of PMA from causing [Ca2+]c to decrease. These observations suggest that PMA can inhibit the cyclic AMP-induced increase in [Ca2+]c independently of any changes in cyclic AMP concentration. Glucagon appears to increase [Ca2+]c by releasing intracellular stores of Ca2+ and stimulating net influx of Ca2+ into the cell; PMA greatly diminishes both of these effects.
- © 1986 London: The Biochemical Society