Characterizing calcium influx via voltage- and ligand-gated calcium channels in embryonic Alligator neurons in culture

Weina Ju, Jiang Wu, Michael B. Pritz, Rajesh Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Vertebrate brains share many features in common. Early in development, both the hindbrain and diencephalon are built similarly. Only later in time do differences in morphology occur. Factors that could potentially influence such changes include certain physiological properties of neurons. As an initial step to investigate this problem, embryonic Alligator brain neurons were cultured and calcium responses were characterized. The present report is the first to document culture of Alligator brain neurons in artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF) as well as in standard mammalian tissue culture medium supplemented with growth factors. Alligator brain neuron cultures were viable for at least 1 week with unipolar neurites emerging by 24 hours. Employing Fura-2 AM, robust depolarization-induced calcium influx, was observed in these neurons. Using selective blockers of the voltage-gated calcium channels, the contributions of N-, P/Q-, R-, T-, and L-type channels in these neurons were assessed and their presence documented. Lastly, Alligator brain neurons were challenged with an excitotoxic stimulus (glutamate + glycine) where delayed calcium deregulation could be prevented by a classical NMDA receptor antagonist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-336
Number of pages7
JournalTranslational Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Alligator
  • Calcium mobilization
  • Immunoblot
  • NMDA receptor
  • Neuronal culture
  • Voltage-gated calcium channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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