The role of calcium ions in the regulation of rat thymocyte pyruvate oxidation by mitogens

D A Hume, E K Vijayakumar, F Schweinberger, L M Russell, M J Weidemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Calcium concentrations in the nanomolar range cause a specific stimulation of the oxidation of pyruvate by isolated mitochondria from rat thymus that is sufficient to account precisely for the stimulation of pyruvate oxidation observed when rat thymocytes are incubated with the mitogens concanavalin A or ionophore A23187. 2. Higher concentrations of Ca2+ (more than 50 nM) inhibit the oxidation of NAD+-linked substrates by rat thymus mitochondria without affecting the oxidation of succinate or ascorbate+ NNN'N'-tetramethyl-p-phenylendiamine. 3. The addition of Ni2+ or Co2+ (2mM) to rat thymocytes prevents the response to concanavalin A at the level of pyruvate oxidation without affecting the stimulation of glycolysis induced by this mitogen. In contrast, the complete metabolic response to the ionophore A23187 is abolished by these ions. Ni2+ and Co2+ interfere with the ability of the ionophore to transport Ca2+ across the plasma membrane. 4. Concanavalin A, but not ionophore A23187, increases the respiratory inhibition induced by Ni2+ and Co2+. 5. These results support the view that mitogens stimulate lymphocyte pyruvate oxidation through an increase in cellular Ca2+ uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-6
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 1978


  • Animals
  • Calcimycin
  • Calcium
  • Cations, Divalent
  • Concanavalin A
  • Lymphocytes
  • Male
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitogens
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pyruvates
  • Rats
  • Thymus Gland


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