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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012, Article ID 785647, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/785647
Review Article

Ion Channels and Zinc: Mechanisms of Neurotoxicity and Neurodegeneration

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL 32306 4300, USA
2Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL 32306 4300, USA

Received 9 January 2012; Accepted 17 February 2012

Academic Editor: Yonghua Ji

Copyright © 2012 Deborah R. Morris and Cathy W. Levenson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Ionotropic glutamate receptors, such as NMDA, AMPA and kainate receptors, are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate much of the excitatory neurotransmission in the brain. Not only do these receptors bind glutamate, but they are also regulated by and facilitate the postsynaptic uptake of the trace metal zinc. This paper discusses the role of the excitotoxic influx and accumulation of zinc, the mechanisms responsible for its cytotoxicity, and a number of disorders of the central nervous system that have been linked to these neuronal ion channels and zinc toxicity including ischemic brain injury, traumatic brain injury, and epilepsy.