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Neuroscience. 1999 Mar;89(1):101-8.

Complex influence of the L-type calcium-channel agonist BayK8644(+/-) on N-methyl-D-aspartate responses and neuronal survival.

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1
Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, McClellan Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.

Abstract

Past studies have implicated calcium influx through the N-methyl-D-aspartate class of ionotropic glutamate receptors as a key factor in excitotoxicity. Here, primary cultures of hippocampal neurons were exposed to N-methyl-D-aspartate with or without the L-type calcium channel agonist BayK8644(+/-). Calcium influxes were monitored with Fura-2 microfluorescent imaging and 45Ca measurements, and survival was assayed through cell counts. While 100 microM BayK8644 alone evoked a moderate elevation of intraneuronal calcium concentrations ([Ca2+]i), it dramatically attenuated the larger calcium influxes triggered by 500 microM N-methyl-D-aspartate. This attenuation was non-competitive and reversible; it was not inhibited by charybdotoxin or cyclosporin A. In spite of this attenuation of [Ca2+]i responses, 5-min exposures to BayK8644 produced much greater neurotoxicity 24 h later than did doses of N-methyl-D-aspartate evoking larger [Ca2+]i increases. This neurotoxicity was not observed with potassium-mediated depolarization or cobalt; indeed, both reversed the neurotoxicity of BayK8644. The relevant conclusions are two-fold: BayK8644 inhibits influx of calcium through a ligand-gated glutamate receptor, and BayK8644 exhibits considerable neurotoxicity. The former effect does not appear to depend upon the major metabolic pathways that modulate N-methyl-D-aspartate channels and thus may involve a direct allosteric interaction with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. The toxicity of BayK8644 depends, at least partially, upon its activation of voltage-gated (cobalt-sensitive) calcium channels. However, the reversal of this toxicity by depolarization suggests that depolarization can be beneficial to neuronal survival through mechanisms other than calcium influx through voltage-gated calcium channels.

PMID:
10051220
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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