Emodin-induced muscle contraction of mouse diaphragm and the involvement of Ca2+ influx and Ca2+ release from sarcoplasmic reticulum

Y. W. Cheng, J. J. Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


1. The effects on skeletal muscle of emodin, an anthraquinone, were studied in the mouse isolated diaphragm and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane vesicles. 2. Emodin dose-dependently caused muscle contracture, simultaneously depressing twitch amplitude. Neither tubocurarine nor tetrodotoxin blocked the contraction suggesting that it was caused myogenically. 3. The contraction induced by emodin persisted in a Ca2+ free medium with a slight reduction in the maximal force of contraction. The contraction induced by emodin in the Ca2+ free medium was completely blocked when the internal Ca2+ pool of the muscle was depleted by ryanodine. These data suggest that the contraction caused by emodin is due to the release of Ca2+ from the intracellular ryanodine-sensitive pool. 4. In contrast to the effect seen in the Ca2+ free medium, emodin induced a small but consisted contraction in the ryanodine-treated muscle in Krebs medium. The contraction was blocked in the presence of dithiothreitol and was partially blocked by nifedipine, suggesting that oxidation of a sulphhydryl group on the external site of dihydropyridine receptor is involved. 5. Emodin dose-dependently increased Ca2+ release from actively loaded SR vesicles and this effect was blocked by ruthenium red, a specific Ca2+ release channel blocker, and the thiol reducing agent, DTT, suggesting that emodin induced Ca2+ release through oxidation of the critical SH of the ryanodine receptor. 6. [3H]-ryanodine binding was dose-dependently potentiated by emodin in a biphasic manner. The degree of potentiation of ryanodine binding by emodin increased dose-dependently at concentrations up to 10 μM but decreased at higher concentrations of 10-100 μM. 7. These data suggest that muscle contraction induced by emodin is due to Ca2+ release from the SR of skeletal muscle, as a result of oxidation of the ryanodine receptor and influx of extracellular Ca2+ through voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels of the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-820
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthraquinones
  • Calcium release
  • Emodin
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • Skeletal muscle
  • SR
  • Sulphhydryls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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