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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1996 Nov 12;228(2):397-405.

Intracellular calcium rise through L-type calcium channels, as molecular mechanism for prion protein fragment 106-126-induced astroglial proliferation.

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Istituto di Farmacologia, Facoltà di Medicina, Università di Genova, Italy.


The infectious prion protein (PrPSc) is the etiologic agent of transmissible neurodegenerative conditions such as scrapie or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Its fragment 106-126 (PrP106-126) has been reported to maintain most of the pathological features of PrPSc. We report here the intracellular mechanisms mediating the proliferative effects of PrP106-126 on rat cortical type I astrocytes. The proliferative effects of PrP106-126 started after 24h of treatment and lasted up to 9 days and was antagonized by the L-type voltage-sensitive calcium channel blocker nicardipine. Microfluorimetric studies showed that PrP106-126 caused a rapid increase in the [Ca+2]i. This effect was prevented by nicardipine, or by Ca(+2)-free conditions, showing that the PrP106-126 enhances [Ca+2]i mobilizing Ca+2 from the extracellular environment. Moreover, binding studies demonstrated a direct interference of PrP106-126 with the dihydropyridine binding site. This is the first evidence that a prion protein fragment directly stimulates the proliferation of astrocytes via an increase in [Ca+2]i through the L-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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