PubMed 20091047

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav2.1 , Cav3.2

Title: Role of voltage-gated calcium channels in epilepsy.

Authors: Gerald W Zamponi, Philippe Lory, Edward Perez-Reyes

Journal, date & volume: , 2009 Dec 20 , ,

PubMed link:

It is well established that idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs) show a polygenic origin and may arise from dysfunction of various types of voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels. There is an increasing body of literature implicating both high- and low-voltage-activated (HVA and LVA) calcium channels and their ancillary subunits in IGEs. Cav2.1 (P/Q-type) calcium channels control synaptic transmission at presynaptic nerve terminals, and mutations in the gene encoding the Cav2.1 alpha1 subunit (CACNA1A) have been linked to absence seizures in both humans and rodents. Similarly, mutations and loss of function mutations in ancillary HVA calcium channel subunits known to co-assemble with Cav2.1 result in IGE phenotypes in mice. It is important to note that in all these mouse models with mutations in HVA subunits, there is a compensatory increase in thalamic LVA currents which likely leads to the seizure phenotype. In fact, gain-of-function mutations have been identified in Cav3.2 (an LVA or T-type calcium channel encoded by the CACNA1H gene) in patients with congenital forms of IGEs, consistent with increased excitability of neurons as a result of enhanced T-type channel function. In this paper, we provide a broad overview of the roles of voltage-gated calcium channels, their mutations, and how they might contribute to the river that terminates in epilepsy.