Sodium influx plays a major role in the membrane depolarization induced by oxygen and glucose deprivation in rat striatal spiny neurons

Paolo Calabresi, Girolama A. Marfia, Diego Centonze, Antonio Pisani, Giorgio Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose - Striatal spiny neurons are selectively vulnerable to ischemia, but the ionic mechanisms underlying this selective vulnerability are unclear. Although a possible involvement of sodium and calcium ions has been postulated in the ischemia-induced damage of rat striatal neurons, the ischemia-induced ionic changes have never been analyzed in this neuronal subtype. Methods - We studied the effects of in vitro ischemia (oxygen and glucose deprivation) at the cellular level using intracellular recordings and microfluorometric measurements in a slice preparation. We also used various channel blockers and pharmacological compounds to characterize the ischemia-induced ionic conductances. Results - Spiny neurons responded to ischemia with a membrane depolarization/inward current that reversed at approximately -40 mV. This event was coupled with an increased membrane conductance. The simultaneous analysis of membrane potential changes and of variations in [Na+](i) and [Ca2+](i) levels showed that the ischemia-induced membrane depolarization was associated with an increase of [Na+](i) and [Ca2+](i). The ischemia-induced membrane depolarization was not affected by tetrodotoxin or by glutamate receptor antagonists. Neither intracellular BAPTA, a Ca2+ chelator, nor incubation of the slices in low-Ca2+-containing solutions affected the ischemia- induced depolarization, whereas it was reduced by lowering the external Na+ concentration. High doses of blockers of ATP-dependent K+ channels increased the membrane depolarization observed in spiny neurons during ischemia. Conclusions - Our findings show that, although the ischemia-induced membrane depolarization is coupled with a rise of [Na+](i) and [Ca2+](i), only the Na+ influx plays a prominent role in this early electrophysiological event, whereas the increase of [Ca2+](i) might be relevant for the delayed neuronal death. We also suggest that the activation of ATP-dependent K+ channels might counteract the ischemia-induced membrane depolarization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


  • Brain
  • Glucose
  • Ion channels
  • Neuroprotection
  • Oxygen
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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