TRPC channels promote cerebellar granule neuron survival

Nat Neurosci. 2007 May;10(5):559-67. doi: 10.1038/nn1870. Epub 2007 Apr 1.


Channels formed by the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of proteins have a variety of physiological functions. Here we report that two members of the TRP cation channel (TRPC) subfamily, TRPC3 and 6, protected cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) against serum deprivation-induced cell death in cultures and promoted CGN survival in rat brain. In CGN cultures, blocking TRPC channels or downregulating TRPC3 or 6 suppressed brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-mediated protection, BDNF-triggered intracellular Ca2+ elevation and BDNF-induced CREB activation. By contrast, overexpressing TRPC3 or 6 increased CREB-dependent reporter gene transcription and prevented apoptosis in the neurons deprived of serum, and this protection was blocked by the dominant negative form of CREB. Furthermore, downregulating TRPC3 or 6 induced CGN apoptosis in neonatal rat cerebellum, and this effect was rescued by overexpressing either TRPC3 or 6. Thus, our findings provide in vitro and in vivo evidence that TRPC channels are important in promoting neuronal survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling / methods
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • TRPC Cation Channels / physiology*
  • Transfection / methods


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Imidazoles
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Caspase 3
  • 1-(2-(3-(4-methoxyphenyl)propoxy)-4-methoxyphenylethyl)-1H-imidazole
  • Calcium