Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 416, Issue 4, pp 462–466 | Cite as

The action of caffeine on inward barium current through voltage-dependent calcium channels in single rabbit ear artery cells

  • A. D. Hughes
  • S. Hering
  • T. B. Bolton
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


The effect of caffeine on inward current carried by barium ions through voltage-dependent calcium channels has been investigated in single rabbit ear artery cells using whole-cell voltage-clamp techniques. Caffeine (1 –30 mM) caused a rapid and reversible concentration-dependent blockade of barium current and a related compound, 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX), was a more potent inhibitor of barium current. Caffeine-induced inhibition of barium current showed no voltage- or usedependence and caffeine did not alter the steady-state inactivation of barium current. The effect of caffeine was not blocked by extracellular or by intracellular ryanodine or inclusion of both 5 mM 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)-ethane N,N,N′,N′,-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA) and 2 mM ethylene glycol-bis(β-amino ethyl ether) N,N,N′,N′,-tetraacetic acid (EGTA) in the intracellular solution. Rolipram and M&B 22984, non-xanthine inhibitors of phosphodiesterase, did not diminish inward barium current. The data indicate that caffeine and IBMX block voltage-operated calcium channels and it is suggested that this is due to a direct interaction of methylxanthines with the calcium channel.

Key words

Caffeine Methylxanthine Smooth muscle Calcium channel 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. D. Hughes
    • 1
  • S. Hering
    • 2
  • T. B. Bolton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Clinical PharmacologySt. George's Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Central Institute for Cardiovascular ResearchAcademy of Sciences of the GDRBerlin-BuchGerman Democratic Republic

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