We attemped to characterize the functional roles of subtypes of voltage-sensitive calcium channels in the brain. The maximal number of [126I]ε)-conotoxin GVIA (w-CTX) binding sites in rat brain associated with N-type calcium channels (N-channels) was approximately 10 times more than that of [3H]-PN200-110 associated with L-type calcium channels (L-channels). [126I]w-CTX binding was inhibited by aminoglycoside antibiotics, neomycin and dynorphin A(1 -13), but not by various classes of L-channel antagonists. A 6-hydroxydopamine-induced lesion of the striatum resulted in a marked reduction of both co-CTX and [3H]PN200-110 binding. Kainic acid-induced lesion of the striatum reduced pH]PN200-110 binding by 57%, but did not reduce [126I](W-CTX binding. β-CTX produced a small (18%) but significant reduction of potassium-stimulated Ca2+ influx into rat brain synaptosomes, although it produced a concentration-dependent inhibition in chick brain synaptosomes. Neomycin inhibited Ca2+ influx in both preparations in a concentration-dependent manner. Both β-CTX and neomycin inhibited potassium-stimulated [3H]dopamine (DA) release from rat striatal slices. The L-channel antagonists had no effect on either Ca2+ influx or [3H]DA release. These results suggest that DA release in the striatum is regulated by Ca2+ influx through N-channels located in presynaptic nerve terminals, and that the most of the Ca2+ influx in rat brain appears to be governed by neomycin-sensitive, to-CTX- and DHP-resistant calcium channels.
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