Recently, telocytes (TCs) were described as a new cell type in the interstitial space of many organs, including myometrium. TCs are cells with very long, distinctive extensions named telopodes (Tps). It is suggested that TCs play a major role in intercellular signaling, as well as in morphogenesis, especially in morphogenetic bioelectrical signaling. However, TC plasma membrane is yet unexplored regarding the presence and activity of ion channels and pumps. Here, we used a combination of in vitro immunofluorescence and patch-clamp technique to characterize T-type calcium channels in TCs. Myometrial TCs were identified in cell culture (non-pregnant and pregnant myometrium) as cells having very long Tps and which were positive for CD34 and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α. Immunofluorescence analysis of the subfamily of T-type (transient) calcium channels CaV3.1 and CaV3.2 presence revealed the expression of these ion channels on the cell body and Tps of non-pregnant and pregnant myometrium TCs. The expression in TCs from the non-pregnant myometrium is less intense, being confined to the cell body for CaV3.2, while CaV3.1 was expressed both on the cell body and in Tps. Moreover, the presence of T-type calcium channels in TCs from non-pregnant myometrium is also confirmed by applying brief ramp depolarization protocols. In conclusion, our results show that T-type calcium channels are present in TCs from human myometrium and could participate in the generation of endogenous bioelectric signals responsible for the regulation of the surrounding cell behavior, during pregnancy and labor.
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