PMID: 6319843Dec 26, 1983Paper

"Calcium antagonists": a class of drugs with a bright future. Part I. Cellular calcium homeostasis and calcium as a coupling messenger

Life Sciences
I Cavero, M Spedding


The aim of this series of minireviews is to present material from multidisciplinary sources to facilitate the understanding of the pharmacology and the ample clinical potential of a class of drugs that were originally designated as "calcium antagonists" and more recently have been referred to as "calcium entry blockers", "calcium slow channel blockers" or "calcium modulators". In this first report our attention will be focussed on the pivotal role of Ca++ as a messenger linking stimuli of extracellular origin to the intracellular environment. Eucaryotic cells have a number of powerful means to control their cytosolic Ca++ concentration. Firstly, in a cell at rest the cellular membrane is relatively impermeable to passive Ca++ movements. This property of the plasmalemma prevents the high free Ca++ concentration (approximately 1 mM) of the extracellular compartment from invading the cytosol (approximately 0.1 microM). However, extracellular Ca++ can reach the cytosol through the Na+/Ca++ exchange mechanism and the plasmalemma possesses special Ca++ channels the conductance of which is controlled by gates that are opened by critical changes in cellular polarization (voltage-operated channels: VOC) or by receptor activation (recept...Continue Reading


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