Date: 10 Jun 2009

Role of Calcium in Regulating Primary Sensory Neuronal Excitability

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Abstract

The fundamental role of calcium ions (Ca2+) in an excitable tissue, the frog heart, was first demonstrated in a series of classical reports by Sydney Ringer in the latter part of the nineteenth century (1882a, b; 1893a, b). Even so, nearly a century elapsed before it was proven that Ca2+ regulated the excitability of primary sensory neurons. In this chapter we review the sites and mechanisms whereby internal and external Ca2+ can directly or indirectly alter the excitability of primary sensory neurons: excitability changes being manifested typically by variations in shape of the action potential or the pattern of its discharge.