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Free Radic Biol Med. 2002 Apr 1;32(7):638-49.

Nitric oxide augments voltage-gated P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels constituting a putative positive feedback loop.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.


P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels, which are postulated to play major roles in synaptic transmission, are regulated in a variety of ways. Ca(2+) currents through P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels (Ca(v)2.1/beta(1a)/alpha(2)delta) heterologously expressed in mammalian cells were recorded using the whole-cell patch clamp method. The oxidant H(2)O(2) increased the current amplitude and the effect was reversed by the reducing agent dithiothreitol (DTT). The stimulatory effect of H(2)O(2) on the Ca(2+) current was mimicked by the NO donors, SNAP, and diethylamine NONOate, and reversed by the reducing agent DTT. The presence of a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor did not abolish the ability of SNAP to increase the Ca(2+) current. Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of nitric oxide synthase in combination with application of the Ca(2+) ionophore A23187 also increased the Ca(2+) current amplitude and the effect was again reversed by DTT. The NOS inhibitor L-NAME abolished the stimulatory effect of A23187, and A23187 did not change the Ca(2+) currents in the cells treated with control adenovirus particles. The time course of the decline of the Ca(2+) current, but not of the Ba(2+) current, in response to repeated depolarization was markedly slowed by adenovirus-mediated overexpression of nitric oxide synthase. The results demonstrate that nitric oxide enhances the channel activity by promoting oxidation and suggest that Ca(2+), nitric oxide synthase, and nitric oxide could constitute a positive feedback loop for regulation of voltage-gated P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels.

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