The Involvement of CaV1.3 Channels in Prolonged Root Reflexes and Its Potential as a Therapeutic Target in Spinal Cord Injury

Mingchen C. Jiang, Derin V. Birch, Charles J. Heckman, Vicki M. Tysseling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in not only the loss of voluntary muscle control, but also in the presence of involuntary movement or spasms. These spasms post-SCI involve hyperexcitability in the spinal motor system. Hyperactive motor commands post SCI result from enhanced excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and persistent inward currents in voltage-gated L-type calcium channels (LTCCs), which are reflected in evoked root reflexes with different timings. To further understand the contributions of these cellular mechanisms and to explore the involvement of LTCC subtypes in SCI-induced hyperexcitability, we measured root reflexes with ventral root recordings and motoneuron activities with intracellular recordings in an in vitro preparation using a mouse model of chronic SCI (cSCI). Specifically, we explored the effects of 1-(3-chlorophenethyl)-3-cyclopentylpyrimidine-2,4,6-(1H,3H,5H)-trione (CPT), a selective negative allosteric modulator of CaV1.3 LTCCs. Our results suggest a hyperexcitability in the spinal motor system in these SCI mice. Bath application of CPT displayed slow onset but dose-dependent inhibition of the root reflexes with the strongest effect on LLRs. However, the inhibitory effect of CPT is less potent in cSCI mice than in acute SCI (aSCI) mice, suggesting changes either in composition of CaV1.3 or other cellular mechanisms in cSCI mice. For intracellular recordings, the intrinsic plateau potentials, was observed in more motoneurons in cSCI mice than in aSCI mice. CPT inhibited the plateau potentials and reduced motoneuron firings evoked by intracellular current injection. These results suggest that the LLR is an important target and that CPT has potential in the therapy of SCI-induced muscle spasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number642111
JournalFrontiers in Neural Circuits
StatePublished - Mar 23 2021


  • Ca1.3 channel
  • motoneuron
  • muscle spasm
  • root reflex
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The Involvement of CaV1.3 Channels in Prolonged Root Reflexes and Its Potential as a Therapeutic Target in Spinal Cord Injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this