While Ca2+ has been proposed to be a messenger in OxLDL-induced cell death, few studies have addressed the possibility that it may influence the occurrence of apoptosis and necrosis of macrophages induced by OxLDL in virtue of change of transmembrane Ca2+ gradient including that across plasma membrane and intracellular organelle membranes. In this paper, various lipophilic Ca2+ fluorescent indicators and specific organelle markers were used to study the relationship between the changes of the transmembrane Ca2+ gradients and the OxLDL induced apoptosis of macrophages. Our results showed that following exposure of low dose OxLDL to macrophages, the transmembrane Ca2+ gradient across the plasma membrane, as well as the membrane-proximal Ca2+ gradient, the transnuclear, and the transmitochondrial membrane Ca2+ gradient were all changed significantly. These data suggested that changes in transmembrane Ca2+ gradients might be involved in the apoptosis of macrophages induced by OxLDL.

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