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Neuroscience. 2006;139(3):1005-15. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Brain activation pattern induced by stimulation of L-type Ca2+-channels: contribution of Ca(V)1.3 and Ca(V)1.2 isoforms.

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Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck, Institute of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Center for Molecular Biosciences Innsbruck, University of Innsbruck, Peter-Mayr-Str. 1, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Ca(V)1.2 and Ca(V)1.3, are the main dihydropyridine-sensitive L-type calcium channel isoforms in the brain. To reveal the contribution of each isoform to the neuronal activation pattern elicited by the dihydropyridine L-type calcium channel activator BayK 8644, we utilized Fos expression as a marker of neuronal activation in mutant mice (Ca(V)1.2(DHP-/-) mice) expressing dihydropyridine-insensitive Ca(V)1.2 L-type calcium channels. BayK 8644-treated wildtype mice displayed intense and widespread Fos expression throughout the neuroaxis in 77 of 80 brain regions quantified. The Fos response in Ca(V)1.2(DHP-/-) mice was greatly attenuated or absent in most of these areas, suggesting that a major part of the widespread Fos induction including most cortical areas was mediated by Ca(V)1.2 L-type calcium channels. BayK 8644-induced Fos expression in Ca(V)1.2(DHP-/-) mice indicating predominantly Ca(V)1.3 L-type calcium channel-mediated activation was noted in more restricted neuronal populations (20 of 80), in particular in the central amygdala, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, lateral preoptic area, locus coeruleus, lateral parabrachial nucleus, central nucleus of the inferior colliculus, and nucleus of the solitary tract. Our data indicate that selective stimulation of other than Ca(V)1.2 L-type calcium channels, mostly Ca(V)1.3, causes neuronal activation in a specific set of mainly limbic, hypothalamic and brainstem areas, which are associated with functions including integration of emotion-related behavior. Hence, selective modulation of Ca(V)1.3 L-type calcium channels could represent a novel (pharmacotherapeutic) tool to influence these CNS functions.

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