Allopregnanolone-induced rise in intracellular calcium in embryonic hippocampal neurons parallels their proliferative potential.

TitleAllopregnanolone-induced rise in intracellular calcium in embryonic hippocampal neurons parallels their proliferative potential.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWang JMing, Brinton RDiaz
JournalBMC Neurosci
Volume9 Suppl 2
Date Published2008 Dec 03
KeywordsAnesthetics, Animals, Bicuculline, Calcium, Calcium Channel Blockers, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Cell Proliferation, Cells, Cultured, Cytoplasm, Female, GABA Antagonists, Hippocampus, Neurons, Nifedipine, Picrotoxin, Pregnancy, Pregnanolone, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Review Literature as Topic

BACKGROUND: Factors that regulate intracellular calcium concentration are known to play a critical role in brain function and neural development, including neural plasticity and neurogenesis. We previously demonstrated that the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (APalpha; 5alpha-pregnan-3alpha-ol-20-one) promotes neural progenitor proliferation in vitro in cultures of rodent hippocampal and human cortical neural progenitors, and in vivo in triple transgenic Alzheimer's disease mice dentate gyrus. We also found that APalpha-induced proliferation of neural progenitors is abolished by a calcium channel blocker, nifedipine, indicating a calcium dependent mechanism for the proliferation.

METHODS: In the present study, we investigated the effect of APalpha on the regulation of intracellular calcium concentration in E18 rat hippocampal neurons using ratiometric Fura2-AM imaging.

RESULTS: Results indicate that APalpha rapidly increased intracellular calcium concentration in a dose-dependent and developmentally regulated manner, with an EC50 of 110 +/- 15 nM and a maximal response occurring at three days in vitro. The stereoisomers 3beta-hydroxy-5alpha-hydroxy-pregnan-20-one, and 3beta-hydroxy-5beta-hydroxy-pregnan-20-one, as well as progesterone, were without significant effect. APalpha-induced intracellular calcium concentration increase was not observed in calcium depleted medium and was blocked in the presence of the broad spectrum calcium channel blocker La3+, or the L-type calcium channel blocker nifedipine. Furthermore, the GABAA receptor blockers bicuculline and picrotoxin abolished APalpha-induced intracellular calcium concentration rise.

CONCLUSION: Collectively, these data indicate that APalpha promotes a rapid, dose-dependent, stereo-specific, and developmentally regulated increase of intracellular calcium concentration in rat embryonic hippocampal neurons via a mechanism that requires both the GABAA receptor and L-type calcium channel. These data suggest that APalpha-induced intracellular calcium concentration increase serves as the initiation mechanism whereby APalpha promotes neurogenesis.

Alternate JournalBMC Neurosci
PubMed ID19090984
PubMed Central IDPMC2604895
Faculty Member Reference: 
Roberta Diaz Brinton, Ph.D