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Cell Calcium. 2012 Mar-Apr;51(3-4):321-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Calcium channel types contributing to chromaffin cell excitability, exocytosis and endocytosis.

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Department of Neuroscience, NIS Center, University of Torino, 10125 Torino, Italy.


Voltage gated Ca(2+) channels are effective voltage sensors of plasma membrane which convert cell depolarizations into Ca(2+) signaling. The chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla utilize a large number of Ca(2+) channel types to drive the Ca(2+)-dependent release of catecholamines into blood circulation, during normal or stress-induced conditions. Some of the Ca(2+) channels expressed in chromaffin cells (L, N, P/Q, R and T), however, do not control only vesicle fusion and catecholamine release. They also subserve a variety of key activities which are vital for the physiological and pathological functioning of the cell, like: (i) shaping the action potentials of electrical oscillations driven either spontaneously or by ACh stimulation, (ii) controlling the action potential frequency of tonic or bursts firing, (iii) regulating the compensatory and excess endocytosis following robust exocytosis and (iv) driving the remodeling of Ca(2+) signaling which occurs during stressors stimulation. Here, we will briefly review the well-established properties of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels accumulated over the past three decades focusing on the most recent discoveries on the role that L- (Cav1.2, Cav1.3) and T-type (Cav3.2) channels play in the control of excitability, exocytosis and endocytosis of chromaffin cells in normal and stress-mimicking conditions.

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