We have localized dihydropyridine (DHP)-sensitive calcium channels in rat brain by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. The mRNA for the dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channel α1 subunit (DHPR-B) is prominently localized in neuronal cells in the olfactory bulb, dentate gyrus, hippocampus, arcuate nucleus, paraventricular nucleus, ventromedial nucleus, cerebral cortex, superior colliculus and the cerebellar Purkinje cell layer. Strong expression of DHPR-B mRNA was also found in the pituitary and pineal glands. DHP-sensitive calcium channel α1 subunit distribution has also been examined immunohistochemically with polyclonal antibodies raised against synthetic peptides specific for the DHPR-B α1 subunit protein. The results from immunohistochemistry were in good agreement with those from in situ hybridization. Thus, regional distribution and localization of DHPR-B mRNA and α1 subunit protein in rat brain suggest that this type of DHP-sensitive brain calcium channel may play an important role in excitation-secretion coupling functions in the neuroendocrine system.
- in situ hybridization