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Brain Pathol. 1998 Oct;8(4):641-53.

Apolipoprotein E isoforms increase intracellular Ca2+ differentially through a omega-agatoxin IVa-sensitive Ca2+-channel.

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Institut für Physiologie der Charité, Berlin, Germany.


Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is the major apolipoprotein in the brain and is known for its important role in plasticity and neurodegeneration. We show that apoE dose-dependently increases intracellular free Ca2+ in rat hippocampal astrocytes and neurons. This effect varies with isoforms in the order E4 > E3 > E2. It is insensitive to blockade of action potentials by tetrodotoxin or inhibition of binding of apoE by heparinase, by the LRP ligand lactoferrin and by low density lipoprotein. ApoE evoked Ca2+-increases are blocked in zero [Ca]o and by the Ca-channel antagonists nickel and omega-Agatoxin-IVa but not by nifedipine and omega-Conotoxin-GVIa, demonstrating an isoform-specific activation of P/Q type Ca2+-channels. This novel mechanism is discussed with respect to Alzheimer's disease, that is linked for most cases to the apoE epsilon-allelic variation (epsilon4 > epsilon3 > epsilon2).

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