The many faces of T-type calcium channels

  • Régis C. LambertEmail author
  • Thomas Bessaïh
  • Vincenzo Crunelli
  • Nathalie Leresche
Invited Review


Since the discovery of low-voltage-activated T-type calcium channels in sensory neurons and the initial characterization of their physiological function mainly in inferior olive and thalamic neurons, studies on neuronal T-type currents have predominantly focused on the generation of low-threshold spike (and associated action potential burst firing) which is strictly conditioned by a preceding hyperpolarization. This T-type current mediated activity has become an archetype of the function of these channels, constraining our view of the potential physiological and pathological roles that they may play in controlling the excitability of single cells and neural networks. However, greatly helped by the recent availability of the first potent and selective antagonists for this class of calcium channels, novel T-type current functions are rapidly being uncovered, including their surprising involvement in neuronal excitability at depolarized membrane potentials and their complex control of dendritic integration and neurotransmitter release. These and other data summarized in this short review clearly indicate a much wider physiological involvement of T-type channels in neuronal activity than previously expected.


T-type channels Cav3.1 Cav3.2 Cav3.3 Burst firing Tonic firing Neuronal excitability Synaptic transmission Dendritic integration 



Our work in this field was supported by CNRS LEA528, Agence Nationale de la Recherche 06-Neuro, Agence Nationale de la Recherche MNMP 2009, the Wellcome Trust (grants 71436, 78403, 91882).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Régis C. Lambert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Thomas Bessaïh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vincenzo Crunelli
    • 3
  • Nathalie Leresche
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.UMR 7102 CNRSParisFrance
  2. 2.UPMC, Université Paris 6ParisFrance
  3. 3.Neuroscience Division, School of Biosciences, Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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