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Kinetic and pharmacological properties of high- and low-threshold calcium channels in primary cultures of rat hippocampal neurons

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The kinetic, permeability and pharmacological properties of Ca currents were investigated in primary cultures of rat hippocampal neurons. The low-voltage-activated (LVA) Ca current turned on positive to −60mV and fully inactivated in a voltage-dependent way. This current was depressed by nickel (Ni, 40 μM) and amiloride (500 μM) and was insensitive to ω-conotoxin (ω-CgTx) (4 μM) and to the Ca agonist Bay K 8644 (5 μM). The high-voltage-activated (HVA) Ca current turned on positive to −40 mV and inactivated slowly and incompletely. This current was much less sensitive than the LVA current to Ni and amiloride but more sensitive to cadmium. ωCgTx blocked only partially this current (about 50%) in an irreversible way. Bay K 8644 had a clear agonistic action almost exclusively on the ω-CgTx-resistant HVA current component. The present results suggest that the HVA channels, quite homogeneous for their kinetic properties and sensitivity to holding potentials, can be pharmacologically separated in two classes: (i) ω-CgTx-sensitive and Bay-K-8644-insensitive (ω-S/BK-I) and (ii) ω-CgTx-insensitive and Bay-K-8644-sensitive (ω-I/BK-S), the latter displaying a stronger Cadependent inactivation.

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Correspondence to Mauro Toselli.

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Toselli, M., Taglietti, V. Kinetic and pharmacological properties of high- and low-threshold calcium channels in primary cultures of rat hippocampal neurons. Pflügers Arch 421, 59–66 (1992).

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Key words

  • Neurons
  • Ca channel
  • ω-conotoxin
  • Bay K 8644