International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Jul 2019)

Genetic Associations between Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels and Psychiatric Disorders

  • Arturo Andrade,
  • Ashton Brennecke,
  • Shayna Mallat,
  • Julian Brown,
  • Juan Gomez-Rivadeneira,
  • Natalie Czepiel,
  • Laura Londrigan

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 20, no. 14
p. 3537


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Psychiatric disorders are mental, behavioral or emotional disorders. These conditions are prevalent, one in four adults suffer from any type of psychiatric disorders world-wide. It has always been observed that psychiatric disorders have a genetic component, however, new methods to sequence full genomes of large cohorts have identified with high precision genetic risk loci for these conditions. Psychiatric disorders include, but are not limited to, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Several risk loci for psychiatric disorders fall within genes that encode for voltage-gated calcium channels (CaVs). Calcium entering through CaVs is crucial for multiple neuronal processes. In this review, we will summarize recent findings that link CaVs and their auxiliary subunits to psychiatric disorders. First, we will provide a general overview of CaVs structure, classification, function, expression and pharmacology. Next, we will summarize tools to study risk loci associated with psychiatric disorders. We will examine functional studies of risk variations in CaV genes when available. Finally, we will review pharmacological evidence of the use of CaV modulators to treat psychiatric disorders. Our review will be of interest for those studying pathophysiological aspects of CaVs.