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The T-type calcium channel as a new therapeutic target for Parkinson's disease.
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Pflugers Arch 2014 Feb;
Authors: Ya-Chin Yang, Chun-Hwei Tai, Ming-Kai Pan, Chung-Chin Kuo
Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most prevalent movement disorder caused by degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) at the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has been a new and effective treatment of PD. It is interesting how a neurological disorder caused by the deficiency of a specific chemical substance (i.e., dopamine) from one site could be so successfully treated by a pure physical maneuver (i.e., DBS) at another site. STN neurons could discharge in the single-spike or the burst modes. A significant increase in STN burst discharges has been unequivocally observed in dopamine-deprived conditions such as PD, and was recently shown to have a direct causal relation with parkinsonian symptoms. The occurrence of burst discharges in STN requires enough available T-type Ca(2+) currents, which could bring the relatively negative membrane potential to the threshold of firing Na(+) spikes. DBS, by injection of negative currents into the extracellular space, most likely would depolarize the STN neuron and then inactivate the T-type Ca(2+) channel. Burst discharges are thus decreased and parkinsonian locomotor deficits ameliorated. Conversely, injection of positive currents into STN itself could induce parkinsonian locomotor deficits in animals without dopaminergic lesions. Local application of T-type Ca(2+) channel blockers into STN would also dramatically decrease the burst discharges and improve parkinsonian locomotor symptoms. Notably, zonisamide, which could inhibit T-type Ca(2+) currents in STN, has been shown to benefit PD patients in a clinical trial. From the pathophysiological perspectives, PD can be viewed as a prototypical disorder of "brain arrhythmias". Modulation of relevant ion channels by physical or chemical maneuvers may be important therapeutic considerations for PD and other diseases related to deranged neural rhythms.
PMID: 24531801 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]