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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 11 (2002), Issue 3, Pages 181-185

Neopterin inhibits ATP-induced calcium release in alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

1Department of Physiology I, University of Bonn, Nussallee 11, Bonn 53111, Germany
2Department of Physiology II, University of Bonn, Nussallee 11, Bonn 53111, Germany

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: Serum neopterin concentrations rise during activation of the cellular immune system. It is suggested that neopterin interacts with cellular redox mechanisms. This induces oxidative stress, which inhibits intracellular Ca2+ transients in various cell types. In type II alveolar epithelial cells, Ca2+ increase is considered involved in the exocytosis of surfactants. This exocytosis is disturbed during inflammation.

Aims: To clarify whether neopterin affects adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-induced Ca2+ transients in an alveolar epithelial cell line (L2).

Methods: Ca2+ transients were detected as fura-2 fluorescence by an image analysis system.

Results: Cells were exposed for 100 sec to ATP (1 μM, repeated four times). The first application of ATP induced an increase of the fluorescence ratio by approximately 100%, while the following stimulations resulted in smaller transients. In a second set of experiments, L2 cells were exposed to ATP or ATP + neopterin (100 nM), alternately. Simultaneous application of neopterin inhibited Ca2+ transients almost completely.

Conclusions: Inhibition of Ca2+ transients by neopterin may lead to suppressed exocytosis of surfactant proteins in alveolar epithelial cells. This might contribute to the deterioration of pulmonary functions in the course of inflammatory processes.