Spinal cord neurons is dissociated cell culture were loaded with the calcium indicator arsenazo III using the whole-cell patch-clamp recording technique. Under voltage-clamp, depolarizing voltage steps evoked transient increases in absorbance at 660 nm, with no change at 570 nm, the isosbestic wavelength for calcium-arsenazo III complexes. The optical response occurred with a threshold depolarization to -30 mV, peaked at +10 mV, and decreased with further depolarization, consistent with an elevation of cytoplasmic free calcium resulting from Ca2+ flux through voltage-dependent calcium channels. Inward current responses to the excitatory amino acids N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and L-glutamate were also accompanied by calcium transients; these were dose-dependent, varied with the driving force for inward current, and were blocked by extracellular Mg2+ in a voltage-dependent manner, suggesting Ca2+ flux through NMDA-receptor channels. Responses to kainate, quisqualate, and GABA were not accompanied by comparable calcium transients. [Ca2+]i transients evoked by depolarizing voltage steps were of maximal amplitude at the start of recording and declined with time, reflecting rundown of voltage-dependent calcium channels. In contrast, [Ca2+]i transients evoked by NMDA gradually increased in amplitude during periods of whole-cell recording lasting 1-2 hr. Procedures resulting in loading of the neuron with Ca2+ accelerated the increase in amplitude of [Ca2+]i transients evoked by NMDA, but slowed the decay of [Ca2+]i transients evoked by voltage steps. Our results provide evidence for 2 independent sources of transmembrane Ca2+ flux in vertebrate neurons, through voltage-gated calcium channels and through NMDA-receptor channels. The Ca2+ flux gated by NMDA-receptor-specific agonists may play a role in synaptic plasticity, in regulating excitability, and in the excitotoxic response to excitatory amino acids.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Oct 1987|
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