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Br J Pharmacol. 1994 Sep;113(1):261-7.

Antagonism by riluzole of entry of calcium evoked by NMDA and veratridine in rat cultured granule cells: evidence for a dual mechanism of action.

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Collège de France, Paris.


1. Intracellular calcium levels were measured in cultured cerebellar granule cells of the rat by use of the fluorescent dye, indo-1/AM. 2. Intracellular calcium levels were increased by depolarizing stimuli such as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) (100 microM), glutamic acid (20 microM), and veratridine (10 microM). This increase was essentially due to entry of external calcium. 3. Riluzole (10 microM) blocked responses to all the depolarizing agents. 4. Riluzole could still block the increase in intracellular calcium evoked by NMDA or glutamic acid when sodium channels were blocked by tetrodotoxin, suggesting that this effect is not mediated by a direct action of riluzole on the voltage-dependent sodium channel. 5. Pretreatment of the cells with pertussis toxin (0.1 micrograms ml-1) did not modify the increases in intracellular calcium evoked by NMDA, glutamic acid or veratridine. 6. In pertussis toxin-treated cells, riluzole could no longer block responses to excitatory amino acids, but still blocked responses to veratridine. 7. It is concluded that riluzole has a dual action on cerebellar granule cells, both blocking voltage-dependent sodium channels and interfering with NMDA receptor-mediated responses via a pertussis toxin-sensitive mechanism. Furthermore, these two processes have been shown to be independent.

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