The relative contribution of intracellular Ca(2+) stores to basal and agonist-stimulated hormone release in pituitary cells is still not well understood, especially in non-mammalian vertebrates. Using ratiometric Ca(2+) imaging of single identified goldfish somatotropes, along with time-resolved measurements of growth hormone (GH) secretion, we investigated the Ca(2+)-dependent signal transduction of two endogenous regulators of GH release from the goldfish pituitary. Two gonadotropin-releasing hormones (sGnRH and cGnRH-II) initiated GH release in nominally Ca(2+) free conditions. GnRH-evoked GH release was additive to KCl-stimulated GH responses. Ca(2+) signals and GH release elicited by both GnRHs were abolished by pretreatment with TMB-8, which blocks the release of Ca(2+) from intracellular stores. GnRH-stimulated GH secretion is mediated by caffeine-sensitive intracellular Ca(2+) stores that are functionally independent from those sensitive to thapsigargin and other inhibitors of SERCA-type Ca(2+)/ATPases. The caffeine/TMB-8-sensitive Ca(2+) stores are also involved in spontaneous Ca(2+) signalling and the maintenance of prolonged GH release.
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