Voltage gated calcium channel currents of rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells are blocked by Al3+

Dietrich Busselberg, Bettina Platt, Helmut L. Haas, David O. Carpenter

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The effects of the trivalent cation aluminum (Al3+) on voltage activated calcium channel currents were examined. Al3+ blocks sustained and transient components of voltage activated calcium channel currents of cultured rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells. Currents were elicited by voltage jumps from -80 to 0 mV. The channel block was use dependent. Steady state blockade occurred after 1 to 5 min, when opening the channel every 10 s. There was little or no recovery after washing. Threshold concentration was about 20 μM Al3+ and total blockade (> 80%) was obtained at 200 μM Al3+; the IC50 was 83 μM and the Hill number was around 3. The degree of blockade was pH dependent, and increased with H+ concentration. The current-voltage relation frequently shifted to depolarised voltages after applying Al3+. The degree of the shift was a function of Al3+ concentration, but the magnitude differed from cell to cell. In the effective concentration range (< 200 μM Al3+) the effect was quite specific to voltage activated calcium channel currents. Voltage activated potassium and sodium channels were reduced less than 15% by 200 μM Al3+. We conclude that Al3+ is a potent and irreversible blocker of voltage activated calcium channel currents in mammalian neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes



  • Aluminum (Al)
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Channel block
  • Rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cell
  • Voltage activated calcium channel current

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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