The mechanisms by which the weaver gene (Reeves et al., 1989; Patil et al., 1995) inhibits neurite extension and/or induces death of the granule neurons in homozygous weaver mouse cerebellum are not presently understood. Here we show that BAPTA-AM and ethanol, which either reduce cytosolic levels of free calcium or prevent calcium entry, promote neurite outgrowth of the weaver neurons similar to the L-type calcium channel blocker verapamil (Liesi and Wright, 1996). Importantly, BAPTA-AM, ethanol, and verapamil not only restore neurite outgrowth of the weaver neurons but adjust their depolarized resting membrane potentials to the levels of normal neurons. These results indicate that calcium-dependent mechanisms mediate the action of the weaver gene and that the weaver neurons can be normalized by blocking this calcium effect. We further report that BAPTA-AM and verapamil also have a neuroprotective effect on normal neurons exposed to high concentrations of ethanol. We suggest that verapamil should be evaluated as a drug for treatment of alcohol-induced brain damage and neurodegenerative disorders.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of neuroscience research|
|State||Published - Jun 15 1997|
- Granule neurons
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience