Effects of exogenous hydrogen sulphide on calcium signalling, background (TASK) K channel activity and mitochondrial function in chemoreceptor cells.
It has been proposed that endogenous H(2)S mediates oxygen sensing in chemoreceptors; this study investigates the mechanisms by which H(2)S excites carotid body type 1 cells. H(2)S caused a rapid reversible increase in intracellular calcium with EC(50) ≈ 6 μM. This [Ca(2+)](i) response was abolished in Ca-free Tyrode. In perforated patch current clamp recordings, H(2)S depolarised type 1 cells from -59 to -35 mV; this was accompanied by a robust increase in [Ca(2+)](i). Voltage clamping at the resting membrane potential abolished the H(2)S-induced rise in [Ca(2+)](i). H(2)S inhibited background K(+) current in whole cell perforated patch and reduced background K(+) channel activity in cell-attached patch recordings. It is concluded that H(2)S excites type 1 cells through the inhibition of background (TASK) potassium channels leading to membrane depolarisation and voltage-gated Ca(2+) entry. These effects mimic those of hypoxia. H(2)S also inhibited mitochondrial function over a similar concentration range as assessed by NADH autofluorescence and measurement of intracellular magnesium (an index of decline in MgATP). Cyanide inhibited background K channels to a similar extent to H(2)S and prevented H(2)S exerting any further influence over channel activity. These data indicate that the effects of H(2)S on background K channels are a consequence of inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation. Whilst this does not preclude a role for endogenous H(2)S in oxygen sensing via the inhibition of cytochrome oxidase, the levels of H(2)S required raise questions as to the viability of such a mechanism.