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Calcium sparks

Calcium sparks in muscle cells

In muscle, action potentials lead to the opening of intracellular calcium ion channels called ryanodine receptors or RyRs located in the membrane of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). This results in facilitated diffusion of calcium ions from the SR into the sarcoplasm of the muscle cell, and the ensuing elevated calcium levels within the cell initiates contraction.

In addition to this synchronized spatially homogenous calcium signal, discrete calcium release events have been discovered using laser scanning confocal microscopy in various tissues including skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle. These events were called calcium “sparks” because of spontaneous localized and transient elevations of fluorescence exhibited with the calcium release. Calcium sparks were discovered in 1992 by Mark B. Cannell and Peace Cheng (a graduate student). This discovery took place in the confocal microscope laboratory set up by Jon W. Lederer while Mark Cannell was on sabbatical leave from St. George's Hospital Medical School. Although initially rejected by the Journal Nature as artifacts, they were quickly recognised as being of fundamental importance to muscle physiology. It may also be notable that these events also led to the sale of a great number of confocal microscopes as only this machine was capable of detecting them at that time.

See also

References [1]S.Sebille,A.Cantereau,C.Vandebrouck,H.Balghi,B.constatin,G.Raymond,C.Cognard. (2005).Calcium Sparks in muscle cells:interactive procedures for automatic detection and measurements on line-scan confocal image series. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2005 Jan;77(1):57-70.


External links


  • SparkMaster - Automated Calcium Spark Analysis with ImageJ - Free software for calcium spark analysis in confocal linescan images
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Calcium_sparks". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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