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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005 Jun;15(3):257-65.

Function and dysfunction of synaptic calcium channels: insights from mouse models.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Viale le G. Colombo 3, 35121 Padova, Italy.


In the past few years several spontaneous or engineered mouse models with mutations in Ca2+ channel genes have become available, providing a powerful approach to defining Ca2+ channel function in vivo. There have been recent advances in outlining the phenotypes and in the functional analysis of mouse models with mutations in genes encoding the pore-forming subunits of Ca(V)2.1 (P/Q-type), Ca(V)2.2 (N-type) and Ca(V)2.3 (R-type) Ca2+ channels, the channels involved in controlling neurotransmitter release at mammalian synapses. These data indicate that Ca(V)2.1 channels have a dominant and efficient specific role in initiating fast synaptic transmission at central excitatory synapses in vivo, and suggest that the Ca(V)2.1 channelopathies are primarily synaptic diseases. The different disorders probably arise from disruption of neurotransmission in specific brain regions: the cortex in the case of migraine, the thalamus in the case of absence epilepsy and the cerebellum in the case of ataxia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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