Effects of cocaine on sarcoplasmic reticulum in skinned rat heart muscle

F. Tomita, A. L. Bassett, R. J. Myerburg, S. Kimura

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14 Scopus citations


We examined the effects of cocaine on the ability of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) to release and accumulate Ca2+ and on the Ca2+ sensitivity of the contractile proteins using chemically skinned rat left ventricular muscles. The preparations were treated with saponin (40 μg/ml for Ca2+ release and uptake studies and 200 μg/ml for Ca2+-tension experiments). The SR was loaded with 10-6 M Ca2+ solution; SR Ca2+ release was induced by application of 5 or 25 mM caffeine. The amount of Ca2+ released from the SR was estimated by the area under the caffeine-induced transient contraction. After 1 min of SR Ca2+ loading, simultaneous application of 50 μM cocaine and 5 mM caffeine increased caffeine-induced Ca2+ release by 15.7 ± 3.1% (P < 0.05). However, when Ca2+-loaded preparations were treated with cocaine for 1 min before application of 5 mM caffeine, caffeine- induced Ca2+ release was reduced by 17.1 ± 3.0% (P < 0.05). When cocaine was applied during the Ca2+ loading periods, the amount of Ca2+ accumulated by the SR (the area under the 25 mM caffeine-induced contraction) increased for both 1-min (10.9 ± 1.7%, P < 0.05) and 3-min (15.5 ± 4.4%, P < 0.05) Ca2+ loading periods. Cocaine (50 μM) had no effect on the Ca2+ sensitivity of the contractile system. We conclude that cocaine at a concentration of 50 μM can directly alter the ability of the SR to release and accumulate Ca2+. These effects of cocaine, especially those on SR Ca2+ release, may play a role in its potential for induction of cardiac toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H845-H850
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 33-3
StatePublished - 1993


  • calcium release and uptake
  • calcium sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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