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J Physiol. 1994 Mar 1;475(2):197-205.

P-type calcium channels in rat neocortical neurones.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195.


1. The high threshold, voltage-activated (HVA) calcium current was recorded from acutely isolated rat neocortical pyramidal neurones using the whole-cell patch technique to examine the effect of agents that block P-type calcium channels and to compare their effects to those of omega-conotoxin GVIA (omega-CgTX) and nifedipine. 2. When applied at a saturating concentration (100 nM) the peptide toxins omega-Aga-IVA and synthetic omega-Aga-IVA blocked 31.5 and 33.0% of the HVA current respectively. 3. A saturating concentration of nifedipine (10 microM) inhibited 48.2% of the omega-Aga-IVA-sensitive current, whereas saturating concentrations of both omega-Aga-IVA (100 nM) and omega-CgTX (10 microM) blocked separate specific components of the HVA current. 4. Partially purified funnel web spider toxin (FTX) at a dilution of 1:1000 blocked 81.4% of the HVA current and occluded the inhibitory effect of omega-Aga-IVA. Synthetic FTX 3.3 arginine polyamine (sFTX) at a concentration of 1 mM blocked 61.2% of the HVA current rapidly and reversibly. The effects of sFTX were partially occluded by pre-application of omega-Aga-IVA. We conclude that neither FTX nor sFTX blocked a specific component of the HVA current in these cells. 5. In view of the specificity of omega-Aga-IVA for P-type calcium channels in other preparations and for a specific component of the HVA current in dissociated neocortical neurones we conclude that about 30% of the HVA current in these neurones flow through P-channels.

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