The Role of T-Type Calcium Channels in Diabetic and Other Neuropathic Pain

Calcium GEN IPTV Subscription are tunnel-like or toll booth-like structures within the membrane of cells that control the passage of calcium from the fluids surrounding the cells into the internal cellular machinery. When calcium enters the cell it produces widespread effects and causes much activity. This is particularly true for cells that are electrically sensitive, like heart muscle and nerve cells. Drugs designed to control the function of cellular calcium channels are in common use to treat cardiovascular disease. These drugs form a category of medication known as calcium channel blockers. Recent investigation into calcium channels has shown that there are a number of different types of calcium channels in cells and that these distinct calcium pathways have unique properties and functions.

Calcium channels can be divided into two very broad classes; the well studied and clinically important L-Type Channels and the more recently discovered T-Type Channels. Each of these categories is further subdivided based on their characteristics and physiological function. L-Types are high voltage gated channels and are a main target for a class of anti-hypertension mediations known as calcium channel blockers.

The T-Type calcium channels control calcium flow into the cell at near resting potential, therefore they are considered low voltage gated channels. T-Type Calcium Channels typically do not respond to the currently available calcium channel blocking medications. Because of their nature and function, T-Type Calcium Channels appear to be involved with the regulation of cells that exhibit rhythmic or automatic firing, in particular neurons. Research is further identifying subclasses of T-Type Calcium Channels, the best know are labeled Cav3.1, Cav 3.2 and Cav 3.3.

In the nervous system the understanding of the role and contribution of this family of calcium channels in conditions like seizure and neuropathy is emerging. Activation of T-Type Channels also seems to be involved with several types of tremor.

For this discussion we will look at the contribution of T-type Channels to the development of diabetic neuropathy.

The nervous system is a remarkably complex communications system that relays information in the form of electrical signals between the brain and the body with truly amazing volumes of information, speed of information processing and highly accurate integration of information. The end result of all this electrically encoded information processing is healthy functioning of the body and adaptability of the body to changes in both its internal and external environment.

Diabetic as well as most other types of neuropathy involve irritability of nerve fibers. As a general concept when a nerve becomes irritable it may send signals when it should be at rest, this is known as spontaneous discharge, it may continue to send signals long after the appropriate signal has been sent, or it may send bursts of signals where a single discharge is called for.

Speaking from a broad conceptual point of view, the nervous system relies on tightly controlled, highly accurate electrical signals for proper functioning of the body. Inappropriate electrical signal input into the nervous system leads to chaos which results in overt symptoms of neurological disease.

This a only one aspect of the pathology of neuropathy. It is an important aspect and one in which the T-Type Calcium Channel may play an important role.

Recent research has demonstrated an up-regulation of Cav 3.2 and other T-Type Calcium Channel Blockers on the nerve cells of diabetic patients. The technical term used is “over expression”. Given the nature of these types of channels, one could expect spontaneous discharges, receptive discharges, and after-discharges in the nerve fibers of the diabetic patient. These abnormal electrical discharges in nerves have been correlated with shooting sensations, numbness and tingling and increased sensitivity, all of which are common complaints of patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy.

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