Ca2+ signalling, and changes of mitochondrial function during low-Mg2+-induced epileptiform activity in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures

R. Kovacs, S. Schuchmann, S. Gabriel, J. Kardos, U. Heinemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)


Several lines of evidence indicate that augmented neuronal activity is associated with increased mitochondrial function, however, the mechanisms of coupling are still unclear. In this study we used a low extracellular Mg2+ concentration and short stimulus trains to evoke neuronal hyperactivity in the form of seizure-like events (SLE) in hippocampal slice cultures. Simultaneous microfluorimetric and electrophysiological techniques were applied to gain insight into changes of Ca2+ concentration in different compartments and into mitochondrial function. SLEs were associated with a large decrease of the extracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]e), a spiking increase of the cytoplasmic and a smoothed elevation of the mitochondrial Ca2+ concentration (cytoplasmic concentration [Ca2+]i; intramitrochondrial concentration [Ca2+]m). Following an initial apparent decline in the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ) and NAD(P)H autofluorescence, mitochondria depolarized and NADH production was augmented. Furthermore, SLEs were associated with increased oxidation of dihydroethidine (HEt). Our data suggest that intramitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation stimulates NADH production and production of radical oxygen species (ROS). Interestingly, mitochondrial depolarization followed [Ca2+]i and [Ca2+]m changes with a delay implying that electrogenic extrusion of Ca2+ from the mitochondrial matrix might be responsible for the depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1319
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2001


  • Calcium
  • Free radicals
  • Hippocampus
  • Mg free
  • Mitochondria
  • Organotypic slice cultures
  • Seizure-like events
  • ΔΨ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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