Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 466, Issue 4, pp 719–734

T-type Ca2+ channels in absence epilepsy

Invited Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00424-014-1461-y

Cite this article as:
Cheong, E. & Shin, HS. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol (2014) 466: 719. doi:10.1007/s00424-014-1461-y


Absence epilepsy accompanies the paroxysmal oscillations in the thalamocortical circuit referred as spike and wave discharges (SWDs). Low-threshold burst firing mediated by T-type Ca2+ channels highly expressed in both inhibitory thalamic reticular nuclei (TRN) and excitatory thalamocortical (TC) neurons has been correlated with the generation of SWDs. A generally accepted view has been that rhythmic burst firing mediated by T-type channels in both TRN and TC neurons are equally critical in the generation of thalamocortical oscillations during sleep rhythms and SWDs. This review examined recent studies on the T-type channels in absence epilepsy which leads to an idea that even though both TRN and TC nuclei are required for thalamocortical oscillations, the contributions of T-type channels to TRN and TC neurons are not equal in the genesis of sleep spindles and SWDs. Accumulating evidence revealed a crucial role of TC T-type channels in SWD generation. However, the role of TRN T-type channels in SWD generation remains controversial. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the functional consequences of modulating each T-type channel subtype could guide the development of therapeutic tools for absence seizures while minimizing side effects on physiological thalamocortical oscillations.


Spike-wave-discharges Thalamocortical oscillations Knockout mice Burst firing 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, Translational Research Center for Protein Function Control, College of Life Science and BiotechnologyYonsei UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Center for Cognition and SocialityInstitute for Basic ScienceDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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