The activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase in extracts of pig mesenteric lymphocytes was measured under different preincubation conditions. The mitogens concanavalin A and ionophore A23187 both increased pyruvate dehydrogenase activity. In both cases activation required extracellular Ca2+. Digitonin-permeabilized cells required 0.5 microM free Ca2+ for half-maximal activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase. The stimulation by concanavalin A in intact cells was probably not due to changes in effectors of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. This evidence suggests that activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase is by Ca2+ activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase and supports the view that the cytoplasmic free [Ca2+] rises to something less than 1 microM on stimulation with mitogens.

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