Interactions of Lanthanides with Tissues, Cells, and Cellular Organelles

  • C. H. Evans
Part of the Biochemistry of the Elements book series (BOTE, volume 8)


Over 75 years ago, Mines (1910, 1911) described the inhibitory effect of lanthanide ions on the beating of perfused frogs’ hearts. Shortly thereafter, similar responses were noted for skeletal muscle (Hober and Spaeth, 1914). However, the modern experimental use of lanthanides in cellular biochemistry and physiology originates with the paper of Lettvin et al. (1964). Drawing attention to the similar ionic radii of Ca2+ and La3+, these authors suggested that La3+ ions should occupy Ca2+-binding sites on nerve axons but, being of higher valency, should bind much more strongly than Ca2+. This observation anticipated the more detailed comparisons of Ca2+ and Ln3+ ions by bioinorganic chemists (Section 2.5). Lettvin et al. (1964) proposed that La3+ ions would function as nerve-blocking agents. The subsequent confirmation of this prediction (Takata et al., 1966) led the way to the widespread use of Ln3+ ions in studies of cellular Ca2+ fluxes, especially with regard to their role in excitation and other stimulus-coupled responses. Much of the development of this area of lanthanide research stems from the investigations of Van Breeman, Weiss, and their colleagues on muscle cells. Reviews of various aspects of this field have been written by Weiss (1974), Mikkelsen (1976), and Dos Remedios (1981).


Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Histamine Release Pancreatic Acinar Cell Cellular Organelle Frog Skin 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. H. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ferguson LaboratoryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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