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J Neurophysiol. 1998 Jul;80(1):350-64.

Increased calcium buffering in basal forebrain neurons during aging.

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Department of Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College Station, Texas 77843-1114, USA.


Increased calcium buffering in basal forebrain neurons during aging. J. Neurophysiol. 80: 350-364, 1998. Alterations of neuronal calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis are thought to underlie many age-related changes in the nervous system. Basal forebrain neurons are susceptible to changes associated with aging and to related dysfunctions such as Alzheimer's disease. It recently was shown that neurons from the medial septum and nucleus of the diagonal band (MS/nDB) of aged (24-27 mo) F344 rats have an increased current influx through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCCs) relative to those of young (1-4. 5 mo) rats. Possible age-related changes in Ca2+ buffering in these neurons have been investigated using conventional whole cell and perforated-patch voltage clamp combined with fura-2 microfluorimetric techniques. Basal intracellular Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]i), Ca2+ influx, Ca2+ transients (Delta[Ca2+]i), and time course of Delta[Ca2+]i were quantitated, and rapid Ca2+ buffering values were calculated in MS/nDB neurons from young and aged rats. The involvement of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) was examined with the SER Ca2+ uptake blocker, thapsigargin. An age-related increase in rapid Ca2+ buffering and Delta[Ca2+]i time course was observed, although basal [Ca2+]i was unchanged with age. The SER and endogenous diffusible buffering mechanisms were found to have roles in Ca2+ buffering, but they did not mediate the age-related changes. These findings suggest a model in which some aging central neurons could compensate for increased Ca2+ influx with greater Ca2+ buffering.

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