Nanomolar Bifenthrin alters synchronous Ca2+ oscillations and cortical neuron development independent of sodium channel activity

Zhengyu Cao, Yanjun Cui, Hai M. Nguyen, David Paul Jenkins, Heike Wulff, Isaac N Pessah

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36 Scopus citations


Bifenthrin, a relatively stable type I pyrethroid that causes tremors and impairs motor activity in rodents, is broadly used. We investigated whether nanomolar bifenthrin alters synchronous Ca2+ oscillations (SCOs) necessary for activity-dependent dendritic development. Primary mouse cortical neurons were cultured 8 or 9 days in vitro (DIV), loaded with the Ca2+ indicator Fluo-4, and imaged using a Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader Tetra. Acute exposure to bifenthrin rapidly increased the frequency of SCOs by 2.7-fold (EC50 = 58 nM) and decreased SCO amplitude by 36%. Changes in SCO properties were independent of modifications in voltage-gated sodium channels since 100 nM bifenthrin had no effect on the whole-cell Na+ current, nor did it influence neuronal resting membrane potential. The L-type Ca 2+ channel blocker nifedipine failed to ameliorate bifenthrin-triggered SCO activity. By contrast, the metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)5 antagonist MPEP [2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine] normalized bifenthrin-triggered increase in SCO frequency without altering baseline SCO activity, indicating that bifenthrin amplifies mGluR5 signaling independent of Na+ channel modification. Competitive [AP-5; (-)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid] and noncompetitive (dizocilpine, or MK-801 [(5S, 10R)-(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10- imine maleate]) N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonists partially decreased both basal and bifenthrin-triggered SCO frequency increase. Bifenthrin-modified SCO rapidly enhanced the phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB). Subacute (48 hours) exposure to bifenthrin commencing 2 DIV-enhanced neurite outgrowth and persistently increased SCO frequency and reduced SCO amplitude. Bifenthrin-stimulated neurite outgrowth and CREB phosphorylation were dependent on mGluR5 activity since MPEP normalized both responses. Collectively these data identify a new mechanism by which bifenthrin potently alters Ca2+ dynamics and Ca2+-dependent signaling in cortical neurons that have long term impacts on activity driven neuronal plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-639
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine


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