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Cell Calcium. 2006 Sep;40(3):277-86. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Chronic 1alpha,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3 treatment reduces Ca2+ -mediated hippocampal biomarkers of aging.

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Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, University of Kentucky, 800 Rose Street, MS-310, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, 40536-0298, USA.


Aging in the hippocampus of several species is characterized by alterations in multiple Ca(2+)-mediated processes, including an increase in L-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channel (L-VGCC) current, an enhanced Ca(2+)-dependent slow afterhyperpolarization (AHP), impaired synaptic plasticity and elevated Ca(2+) transients. Previously, we found that 1alpha,25-dihydoxyvitamin D(3) (1,25VitD), a major Ca(2+) regulating hormone, down-regulates L-VGCC expression in cultured hippocampal neurons. Here, we tested whether in vivo treatment of aged F344 rats with 1,25VitD would reverse some of the Ca(2+) -mediated biomarkers of aging seen in hippocampal CA1 neurons. As previously reported, L-VGCC currents and the AHP were larger in aged than in young neurons. Treatment with 1,25VitD over 7 days decreased L-VGCC activity in aged rats, as well as the age-related increase in AHP amplitude and duration. In addition, reduced L-VGCC activity was correlated with reduced AHPs in the same animals. These data provide direct evidence that 1,25VitD can regulate multiple Ca(2+)-dependent processes in neurons, with particular impact on reducing age-related changes associated with Ca(2+) dysregulation. Thus, these results may have therapeutic implications and suggest that 1,25VitD, often taken to maintain bone health, may also retard some consequences of brain aging.

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