On the Origin of Paroxysmal Depolarization Shifts: The Contribution of Cav1.x Channels as the Common Denominator of a Polymorphous Neuronal Discharge Pattern

Neuroscience. 2021 Aug 1;468:265-281. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.05.011. Epub 2021 May 18.


Since their discovery in the 1960s, the term paroxysmal depolarization shift (PDS) has been applied to a wide variety of reinforced neuronal discharge patterns. Occurrence of PDS as cellular correlates of electrographic spikes during latent phases of insult-induced rodent epilepsy models and their resemblance to giant depolarizing potentials (GDPs) nourished the idea that PDS may be involved in epileptogenesis. Both GDPs and - in analogy - PDS may lead to progressive changes of neuronal properties by generation of pulsatile intracellular Ca2+ elevations. Herein, a key element is the gating of L-type voltage gated Ca2+ channels (LTCCs, Cav1.x family), which may convey Ca2+ signals to the nucleus. Accordingly, the present study investigates various insult-associated neuronal challenges for their propensities to trigger PDS in a LTCC-dependent manner. Our data demonstrate that diverse disturbances of neuronal function are variably suited to induce PDS-like events, and the contribution of LTCCs is essential to evoke PDS in rat hippocampal neurons that closely resemble GDPs. These PDS appear to be initiated in the dendritic sub-compartment. Their morphology critically depends on the position of recording electrodes and on their rate of occurrence. These results provide novel insight into induction mechanisms, origin, variability, and co-existence of PDS with other discharge patterns and thereby pave the way for future investigations regarding the role of PDS in epileptogenesis.

Keywords: L-type voltage-gated calcium channels; epileptogenesis; hippocampal neurons; paroxysmal depolarization shift; perforated patch-clamp; seizure-like activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epilepsy*
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Neurons
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Rats