Sigma-1 receptors (σ-1rs) exert neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) both in vivo and in vitro. This receptor has unique properties through its actions on several voltage-gated and ligand-gated channels. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role that σ-1rs play in regulating cell calcium dynamics through activated L-type Voltage Gated Calcium Channels (L-type VGCCs) in purified RGCs. RGCs were isolated from P3-P7 Sprague-Dawley rats and purified by sequential immunopanning using a Thy1.1 antibody. Calcium imaging was used to measure changes in intracellular calcium after depolarizing the cells with potassium chloride (KCl) in the presence or absence of two σ-1r agonists [(+)-SKF10047 and (+)-Pentazocine], one σ-1r antagonist (BD1047), and one L-type VGCC antagonist (Verapamil). Finally, co-localization studies were completed to assess the proximity of σ-1r with L-type VGCCs in purified RGCs. VGCCs were activated using KCl (20 mM). Pre-treatment with a known L-type VGCC blocker demonstrated a 57% decrease of calcium ion influx through activated VGCCs. Calcium imaging results also demonstrated that σ-1r agonists, (+)-N-allylnormetazocine hydrochloride [(+)-SKF10047] and (+)-Pentazocine, inhibited calcium ion influx through activated VGCCs. Antagonist treatment using BD1047 demonstrated a potentiation of calcium ion influx through activated VGCCs and abolished all inhibitory effects of the σ-1r agonists on VGCCs, implying that these ligands were acting through the σ-1r. An L-type VGCC blocker (Verapamil) also inhibited KCl activated VGCCs and when combined with the σ-1r agonists there was not a further decline in calcium entry suggesting similar mechanisms. Lastly, co-localization studies demonstrated that σ-1rs and L-type VGCCs are co-localized in purified RGCs. Taken together, these results indicated that σ-1r agonists can inhibit KCl induced calcium ion influx through activated L-type VGCCs in purified RGCs. This is the first report of attenuation of L-type VGCC signaling through the activation of σ-1rs in purified RGCs. The ability of σ-1rs to co-localize with L-type VGCCs in purified RGCs implied that these two proteins are in close proximity to each other and that such interactions regulate L-type VGCCs.
- Calcium signaling
- L-type Voltage Gated Calcium Channel
- Purified retinal ganglion cells
- Sigma-1 receptor