June 2013
Volume 54, Issue 15
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2013
Ca2+ signaling in retinal ganglion cells and their axons
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allison Sargoy
    Neurobiology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
    Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Luis Pérez de Sevilla Müller
    Neurobiology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
    School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Steven Barnes
    Neurobiology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
    Physiology & Biophysics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Nicholas Brecha
    Neurobiology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
    Veterans Administration, Los Angeles, CA
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Allison Sargoy, None; Luis Pérez de Sevilla Müller, None; Steven Barnes, None; Nicholas Brecha, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2013, Vol.54, 1273. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Allison Sargoy, Luis Pérez de Sevilla Müller, Steven Barnes, Nicholas Brecha; Ca2+ signaling in retinal ganglion cells and their axons. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):1273.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: Blocking voltage gated Ca channels (VGCCs) reduces degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) caused by optic nerve trauma (Karim et al., 2006). RGC somata have been shown to express L-, N- and T-type VGCCs (Guenther et al., 1994; Farrell et al., 2009). Since axons are the primary site of nerve injury, we sought to compare the localization of VGCCs in RGCs and RGC axons to determine possible differences in their contribution to Ca2+ signaling.

Methods: Immunohistochemistry was performed on wholemount retinas and transverse sections. Ca2+ imaging was performed on retinas that were treated with specific blockers of L-, N-, P/Q-, and T-type Ca channels, nifedipine and verapamil, ω-conotoxin-GVIA, ω-Agatoxin IVA, and mibefradil, respectively. The Na channel blocker, TTX, was also used. RGC axons were labeled retrogradely with Fluo-4 pentapotassium injected at the optic nerve stump and depolarized by superfusion with 60 mM K+ for 30 or 60s.

Results: Immunolabeling showed N- and P/Q-type Ca channels in RGC somata. The α1C & D subunits were localized to RGC somata, the nerve fiber layer (NFL) and processes in the inner plexiform layer. Ca2+ imaging of RGCs in isolated retinas showed the following significant reductions in the K+-evoked Ca2+ signal: 10 μM nifedipine (32%±9%), 100 μM verapamil (39%±4%), 3 μM mibefradil (21%±5%) and 200 nM TTX (40%±9%). Ca2+ imaging of RGC axons in retinas showed the following significant reductions: nifedipine (20%±6%), verapamil (52%±9%), mibefradil (13%±8%) and TTX (48%±11%). 400 nM ω-Agatoxin IVA and 3 μM ω-conotoxin-GVIA tended to reduce the Ca2+ signal in RGC somata & axons but by an amount that failed to reach significance in this data set.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that much of the Ca2+ influx in both RGC somata and axons is due to L-type VGCCs and that spiking is a strong stimulus for Ca2+ influx. The expression of VGCC subtypes in RGCs and the selective reduction of Ca2+ signals in the presence of specific antagonists may provide insight into the development of target-specific strategies to spare the loss of RGCs and their axons following injury.

Keywords: 531 ganglion cells • 439 calcium • 449 cell survival  

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