Na+Channels and Ca2+ Channels of the Cell Membrane as Targets of Neuroprotective Substances

  • Christian Alzheimer
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 513)


Loss of ion homeostasis is the cardinal event in the early neuronal response to acute ischemic and traumatic brain injury.1–3 At short notice, excessive influx of Na+ and Ca2+ overwhelming the compensatory mechanisms of the neuron will cause osmotic volume expansion (swelling), which might be reversible if the impact of the acute injury is limited and small, and appropriate therapeutic actions are taken. However, pathologically elevated Na+ and Ca2+ levels in the cytosol are likely to trigger a cascade of molecular events that eventually lead to neuronal death (e.g., formation of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial dysfunction, activation of caspases etc.). Owing to its double nature as charge carrier and ubiquitous second messenger, Ca2+ has received much more attention than Na+. Deviating from this usual bias, this Chapter will first take a closer look at the pathways of pathological Na+ influx, at the multiple sequelae of excessive intracellular Na+ accumulation, and at attempts to prevent Na+ overload as a means to fight neuronal loss in acute injury.


Traumatic Brain Injury Hippocampal Slice Channel Inhibitor Sodium Channel Blocker Persistent Sodium Current 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Alzheimer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity ofMunich, Pettenkoferstr.MunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PhysiologyUniversity of KielKielGermany

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