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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1995 Oct;16(10):356-9.

NMDA receptor-dependent excitotoxicity: the role of intracellular Ca2+ release.

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Department of Neurology, Reed Neurological Research Center, UCLA School of Medicine 90095-1769, USA.


Massive activation of glutamate receptors can result in excessive rises in cytoplasmic Ca2+ that are thought to underlie the fundamental processes ultimately leading to neuronal death. Preventing such cellular Ca2+ rises in the brain may reduce considerably the neuronal damage produced by stroke, head trauma, or epilepsy. Activation of NMDA receptors is instrumental in this type of neurotoxicity. Recent findings, discussed here by Istvan Mody and John MacDonald, indicate that a large proportion of the neurotoxic Ca2+ that enters nerve cells following NMDA receptor activation originates from an intracellular Ca2+ pool. The release of Ca2+ from this pool is sensitive to the skeletal muscle relaxant dantrolene, and this may constitute a novel and alternative therapeutic approach against NMDA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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