Increase in Single L-Type Calcium Channels in Hippocampal Neurons During Aging

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Science  17 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5264, pp. 1017-1020
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5264.1017


Voltage-activated calcium (Ca2+) influx is increased in mammalian CA1 hippocampal neurons during aging. However, the molecular basis for this elevation is not known. The partially dissociated hippocampal (“zipper'') slice preparation was used to analyze single Ca2+ channel activity in CA1 neurons of adult and aged rats. Total L-type Ca2+ channel activity in patches was found to increase with aging, primarily because of an increase in the density of functional channels. Learning in aged animals was inversely correlated with channel density. This increase in functional Ca2+ channels with aging could underlie the vulnerability of neurons to age-associated neurodegenerative conditions.

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