Modulating Ca2+ clearance from neurons

Front Biosci. 2002 May 1;7:d1255-79.


Neurons are exquisitely sensitive to the duration, amplitude and localization of transient increases in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). Modulation of Ca2+ uptake into the mitochondrion and endoplasmic reticulum, and efflux via the plasma membrane Ca2+ pump and Na+/Ca2+ exchange profoundly affect the shape of [Ca2+]i signals. Ca2+ clearance mechanisms are modulated by other signaling pathways, are sensitive to metabolic state and have a memory of the recent history of cell activation. We present here examples of pharmacologic and endogenous regulation of Ca2+ sequestration and efflux in neurons. Ca2+ clearance mechanisms differentially shape [Ca2+]i signals based on their affinity, capacity and location; their modulation alters specific neuronal functions. The increasingly apparent diversity of the molecular entities that make up the [Ca2+]i regulatory system reveals new sites for modulation. Specialized Ca2+ clearance mechanisms participate in unique cellular functions and thus, are important targets for pharmacological and physiological regulation of the neuron.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Sodium-Calcium Exchanger / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Sodium-Calcium Exchanger
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Calcium