Calcium modulation and high calcium permeability of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

Steven Vernino, Mariano Amador, Charles W. Luetje, Jim Patrick, John A. Dani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

382 Scopus citations


Two properties were found to distinguish neuronal from muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). First, neuronal nAChRs have a greater Ca 2+ permeability. The high Ca2+ flux through neuronal nAChRs activates a Ca2+-dependent CI- conductance, and the Ca 2+ to Cs+ permeability ratio ( PCa PCs) is 7 times greater for neuronal than for muscle nAChRs. A second difference between the receptor types is that neuronal nAChRs are potently modulated by physiological levels of external Ca 2+. Neuronal nAChR currents are enhanced by external Ca2+ in a dose-dependent manner. The results indicate that changes in extracellular Call modulate neuronal nAChRs and may modulate cholinergic synapses in the CNS. Also, activation of neuronal nAChRs produces a significant influx of Ca2+ that could be an important intracellular signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this