When hippocampal pyramidal neurons are grown in culture they develop excitatory synaptic contacts. If these cultures are perfused with Mg2+-free, glycine supplemented medium the neurons exhibit fluctuations in [Ca2+]i and associated cell death ('excitotoxicity'). These phenomena involve the activation of NMDA receptors. When cultures are treated with the K+-channel activators cromakalim and diazoxide both the [Ca2+]i fluctuations and the neuronal death are abolished. These effects are reversed by the sulfonylurea glyburide. It thus appears that K+-channel activators may be a novel therapeutic intervention in epilepsy and associated disorders.
- Potassium channel
ASJC Scopus subject areas