PubMed 23426690

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav2.1

Title: Stable respiratory activity requires both P/Q-type and N-type voltage-gated calcium channels.

Authors: Henner Koch, Sebastien Zanella, Gina E Elsen, Lincoln Smith, Atsushi Doi, Alfredo J Garcia, Aguan D Wei, Randy Xun, Sarah Kirsch, Christopher M Gomez, Robert F Hevner, Jan-Marino Ramirez

Journal, date & volume: J. Neurosci., 2013 Feb 20 , 33, 3633-45

PubMed link:

P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium channels (Ca(v)2.1) play critical presynaptic and postsynaptic roles throughout the nervous system and have been implicated in a variety of neurological disorders. Here we report that mice with a genetic ablation of the Ca(v)2.1 pore-forming α(1A) subunit (α(1A)⁻/⁻) encoded by CACNA1a (Jun et al., 1999) suffer during postnatal development from increasing breathing disturbances that lead ultimately to death. Breathing abnormalities include decreased minute ventilation and a specific loss of sighs, which was associated with lung atelectasis. Similar respiratory alterations were preserved in the isolated in vitro brainstem slice preparation containing the pre-Bötzinger complex. The loss of Ca(v)2.1 was associated with an alteration in the functional dependency on N-type calcium channels (Ca(v)2.2). Blocking N-type calcium channels with conotoxin GVIA had only minor effects on respiratory activity in slices from control (CT) littermates, but abolished respiratory activity in all slices from α(1A)⁻/⁻ mice. The amplitude of evoked EPSPs was smaller in inspiratory neurons from α(1A)⁻/⁻ mice compared with CTs. Conotoxin GVIA abolished all EPSPs in inspiratory neurons from α(1A)⁻/⁻ mice, while the EPSP amplitude was reduced by only 30% in CT mice. Moreover, neuromodulation was significantly altered as muscarine abolished respiratory network activity in α(1A)⁻/⁻ mice but not in CT mice. We conclude that excitatory synaptic transmission dependent on N-type and P/Q-type calcium channels is required for stable breathing and sighing. In the absence of P/Q-type calcium channels, breathing, sighing, and neuromodulation are severely compromised, leading to early mortality.