Evaluation of isolated dorsal root ganglion cells as a model to study neural calcium overload
Jordaan, Esaias Engelbertus
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Background and motivation: The event of neural Ca2+ overload is known to have several deleterious effects resulting in cell death caused by ischaemia, hypoglycaemia, hypoxia and several neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and AIDS-related dementia. In vitro models for the investigation of the mechanisms involved in Ca2+ overload include brain slice preparations, neuronal cultures as well as acutely isolated neurons, mostly from the hippocampus and cortical brain areas. Additional models for investigating Ca2+ overload may bring about new knowledge to areas of the phenomenon that are still unresolved. Methodology: In this study, several theoretical Ca2+ overload-related interventions were combined aimed at inducing cell death in acutely isolated rat dorsal root ganglia. To elucidate the mechanism/s involved in the cell death observed following exposure to this intervention, the effects of several alterations to the intervention's composition were assessed. This examination was extended by the addition of several recognized and potential protective compounds to the intervention. Cell death was indicated by the trypan blue exclusion assay and recorded after 18 hours exposure to the interventions by counting live and dead neurons under a light microscope. Results and conclusions: The goal was to evaluate the possible application of dorsal root ganglia as a model for neural Ca2+ overload outside the brain. Since Ca2+w as required for cell death to be induced, it is concluded that the observed cell death was indeed primarily due to Ca2+ overload. Besides extracellular Ca2+, KC1-induced depolarization was also required for cell death to be induced, while the antagonists did not demonstrate significant protection against cell death. Based on the results, the mechanism of Ca2+ overload could not be defined beyond doubt, but the voltage activated Ca2+ channels are likely to be involved.
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