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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1999 Mar 12;113(1-2):67-73.

Cation channel control of neurite morphology.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania, 51 North 39th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The development of neuronal polarity and morphology is essential for a functioning nervous system. The present study was undertaken to explore whether blockade of specific channels alter neuronal morphology. Retinal ganglion cells were cultured in the presence of antagonists to NMDA, AMPA/kainate, L-, N-, P-, and Q-type voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs). Five parameters were measured under these conditions: the number of neurites at the cell body, total neurite length, the length of the longest neurite, the number of branch points per neurite, and the diameter of the cell soma. Antagonists to NMDA and L-type VDCCs reduce the number of neurites at the cell body; antagonists to P- and Q-type VDCCs increase the number of neurites. Antagonists to the N-type VDCCs increase total neurite outgrowth, while antagonists to the NMDA and P-type channels reduce total neurite length. Antagonists to the NMDA and L-type channels increase the length of a single neurite, while decreasing the number of branch points; antagonists to the P- and Q-type VDCCs do essentially the opposite-increase the number of neurites, while decreasing the length of each. Blockade of one or more cation channels in developing retinal ganglion cells significantly perturbs neurite morphology. This study may help elucidate part of the role that cation channel signaling plays in neuritic development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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