Contradictory Calcium Entry

Science's STKE  25 Nov 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 210, pp. tw461-TW461
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2102003TW461

Calcium ions enter muscle cells through voltage-gated channels (so-called L-type channels) and initiate muscle contraction. However, in an analysis of mice lacking a different channel (the αlH T-type calcium channel), Chen et al. now show that calcium entering cells through T-type calcium channels can have the opposite effect and cause relaxation of smooth muscle and dilation of coronary arteries. The T-type channels, which may act by influencing large-conductance calcium-sensitive potassium channels, provide a potential new target for treatment of cardiovascular disease.

C.-C. Chen, K. G. Lamping, D. W. Nuno, R. Barresi, S. J. Prouty, J. L. Lavoie, L. L. Cribbs, S. K. England, C. D. Sigmund, R. M. Weiss, R. A. Williamson, J. A. Hill, K. P. Campbell, Abnormal coronary function in mice deficient in α1H T-type Ca2+ channels. Science 302, 1416-1418 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]