Chapter

Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels in Epilepsy

Stuart M. Cain and Terrance P. Snutch

in Jasper's Basic Mechanisms of the Epilepsies

Fourth edition

Published on behalf of ©Jeffrey L. Noebels, Massimo Avoli, Michael A. Rogawski, Richard W. Olsen, and Antonio V. Delgado-Escueta

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746545
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322817 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199746545.003.0006

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels in Epilepsy

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Voltage-gated calcium channels are integral membrane proteins that form calcium-selective pores in the plasma membrane (Fig. 6–1). Calcium ions flowing into the cell are driven by an electrochemical gradient generated by a high concentration of calcium outside the cell to a low calcium concentration inside. In neurons the rapid influx of calcium depolarizes the cell membrane potential due to its divalent positive charge and mediates biophysical processes such as action potential firing and membrane potential oscillations. A second effect of calcium ion influx is to regulate the intracellular signaling pathways and biochemical machinery required for physiological functions such as neurotransmitter release. Cells contain numerous calcium-sensitive proteins, such as enzymes and DNA transcription factors that can be up- or downregulated by the binding of calcium ions. Due to the highly complex and widespread effects of calcium channels, even small alterations in their expression or biophysical properties can induce pathophysiological changes in the brain with the potential to induce epileptic seizures.

Chapter.  11787 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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