The goal of these studies was to examine the effects of several factors that may artifactually influence quantitation of cytosolic [Ca2+], [Ca2+]c, while using the fluorescent calcium indicator Indo-1. The following factors were investigated: 1) a possible fluorescence contribution from unhydrolized Indo-1/AM (by Mn2+ quenching), 2) Ca2+ buffering by Indo-1 (by varying [Indo-1]), 3) endothelial and mitochondrial Indo-1 loading (by bradykinin stimulation and calculations), and 4) effects of changing tissue fluorescence (predominantly NAD(P)H) on calculated [Ca2+]c during hypoxia (by a new method which allowed simultaneous determination of [Ca2+]c and changes in [NAD(P)H]). No significant contribution of Indo-1/AM was found. With increasing [Indo-1], calculated systolic [Ca2+]c fell significantly. Indo-1 incorporation (< 18%) into endothelial cells, caused a slight underestimation of systolic [Ca2+]c, while mitochondrial Indo-1 loading may cause overestimation of [Ca2+]c. With increased tissue fluorescence, during hypoxia, systolic [Ca2+]c may be underestimated by approximately 27% (for Indo-1 loading factors three to five times original tissue fluorescence). These studies suggest conditions in which experimental artifacts could be minimized to allow reliable quantitation of [Ca2+]c in intact perfused hearts using Indo-1 fluorometry. The major problem of obtaining reliable results depended on the ability to correct for changing NAD(P)H fluorescence while keeping [Indo-1] low.
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