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Cell Calcium. 2013 Aug;54(2):95-104. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2013.05.002. Epub 2013 May 28.

Kainate-induced calcium overload of cortical neurons in vitro: Dependence on expression of AMPAR GluA2-subunit and down-regulation by subnanomolar ouabain.

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Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation.


Whereas kainate (KA)-induced neurodegeneration has been intensively investigated, the contribution of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs) in neuronal Ca2+ overload ([Ca2+]i) is still controversial. Using Ca2+ imaging and patch-clamp techniques, we found different types of Ca2+ entry in cultured rat cortical neurons. The presence of Ca2+ in the extracellular solution was required to generate the [Ca2+]i responses to 30 μM N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) or KA. The dynamics of NMDA-induced [Ca2+]i responses were fast, while KA-induced responses developed slower reaching high [Ca2+]i. Ifenprodil, a specific inhibitor of the GluN2B subunit of NMDARs, reduced NMDA-induced [Ca2+]i responses suggesting expression of GluN1/GluN2B receptors. Using IEM-1460, a selective blocker of Ca(2+)-permeable GluA2-subunit lacking AMPARs, we found three neuronal responses to KA: (i) IEM-1460 resistant neurons which are similar to pyramidal neurons expressing Ca(2+)-impermeable GluA2-rich AMPARs; (ii) Neurons exhibiting nearly complete block of both KA-induced currents and [Ca2+]i signals by IEM-1460 may represent interneurons expressing GluA2-lacking AMPARs and (iii) neurons with moderate sensitivity to IEM-1460. Ouabain at 1 nM prevented the neuronal Ca2+ overload induced by KA. The data suggest, that cultured rat cortical neurons maintain functional phenotypes of the adult brain cortex, and demonstrate the key contribution of the Na/K-ATPase in neuroprotection against KA excitotoxicity.


Calcium; Cortical neurons; Excitotoxicity; Glutamate receptors; Ouabain; Subunit selective antagonists; Whole-cell currents

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