Chapter 4

Calcium in Homeostasis and Neurodegeneration

Flavio H. Beraldo and Ashbell Roy

Abstract

All brain functions are controlled by specific synapses where the release of neurotransmitters triggers a number of signaling cascades in postsynaptic neurons. One of the most important and common events is a transient and very fast intracellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> increase. Intracellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> increase is fundamental for modulation of gene expression, neuronal survival and plasticity. In this chapter we will discuss the importance of Ca<sup>2+</sup> in cells as well as the regulation of physiological functions in various organisms. Additionally, we will consider mechanisms used by the cells for Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis and for increasing intracellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> concentration. Finally, the role of Ca<sup>2+</sup> in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson disease (PD), Huntington disease (HD) among others will be discussed in this chapter.

Total Pages: 85-101 (17)

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