Calcium oscillations induced by gambierol in cerebellar granule cells



Gambierol is a marine polyether ladder toxin derived from the dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus. To date, gambierol has been reported to act either as a partial agonist or as an antagonist of sodium channels or as a blocker of voltage-dependent potassium channels. In this work, we examined the cellular effect of gambierol on cytosolic calcium concentration, membrane potential and sodium and potassium membrane currents in primary cultures of cerebellar granule cells. We found that at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 30 µM, gambierol-evoked [Ca2+]c oscillations that were dependent on the presence of extracellular calcium, irreversible and highly synchronous. Gambierol-evoked [Ca2+]c oscillations were completely eliminated by the NMDA receptor antagonist APV and by riluzole and delayed by CNQX. In addition, the K+ channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP)-evoked cytosolic calcium oscillations in this neuronal system that were blocked by APV and delayed in the presence of CNQX. Electrophysiological recordings indicated that gambierol caused membrane potential oscillations, decreased inward sodium current amplitude and decreased also outward IA and IK current amplitude. The results presented here point to a common mechanism of action for gambierol and 4-AP and indicate that gambierol-induced oscillations in cerebellar neurons are most likely secondary to a blocking action of the toxin on voltage-dependent potassium channels and hyperpolarization of sodium current activation. J. Cell. Biochem. 110: 497–508, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.