The Physiology, Pathology, and Pharmacology of Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels and Their Future Therapeutic Potential

Pharmacological Reviews
Gerald W ZamponiAnnette C Dolphin


Voltage-gated calcium channels are required for many key functions in the body. In this review, the different subtypes of voltage-gated calcium channels are described and their physiologic roles and pharmacology are outlined. We describe the current uses of drugs interacting with the different calcium channel subtypes and subunits, as well as specific areas in which there is strong potential for future drug development. Current therapeutic agents include drugs targeting L-type Ca(V)1.2 calcium channels, particularly 1,4-dihydropyridines, which are widely used in the treatment of hypertension. T-type (Ca(V)3) channels are a target of ethosuximide, widely used in absence epilepsy. The auxiliary subunit α2δ-1 is the therapeutic target of the gabapentinoid drugs, which are of value in certain epilepsies and chronic neuropathic pain. The limited use of intrathecal ziconotide, a peptide blocker of N-type (Ca(V)2.2) calcium channels, as a treatment of intractable pain, gives an indication that these channels represent excellent drug targets for various pain conditions. We describe how selectivity for different subtypes of calcium channels (e.g., Ca(V)1.2 and Ca(V)1.3 L-type channels) may be achieved in the future by exploiting differe...Continue Reading


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