The discovery and importance of voltage-gated calcium channels

16th Oct 2018

Calcium channels play an incredibly important role throughout the nervous system. This article by Dolphin (2018), published in the BNA’s journal ‘Brain and Neuroscience Advances’, describes the discovery of voltage-gated calcium channels, their role and what future research could concentrate on.

Using knowledge from Harald Reuter’s experiment in 1967 that located calcium channels in heart tissue, Fenwick et al. (1982) managed to isolate single calcium channels. This was a major step that allowed others to find different types of calcium channels and currents and the subunits of the channels. Furthermore, it was possible to determine how certain drugs acted on these channels.

These findings were then used to create mice without some of these voltage-gated calcium channel subunits, which revealed that they can be involved in movement, hearing, pain and heart function. Moreover, calcium channels were shown to be involved in neurotransmitter release by inhibitory modulation of the action potentials.

Future research could focus on developing more drugs targeting specific calcium channel types to help treat Parkinson’s or chronic pain, according to the article. However, there is still a lot more information to be revealed about the function and interactions of calcium channels as well.

For the full review article, click here

Dolphin, A.C., 2018. Voltage-gated calcium channels: Their discovery, function and importance as drug targets. Brain and Neuroscience Advances, 2, p.2398212818794805.

< Back to Media