Bipolar disorder is characterized by a host of sleep-wake abnormalities that suggests
that the reticular activating system (RAS) is involved in these symptoms. One of the
signs of the disease is a decrease in high frequency gamma band activity, which accounts for
a number of additional deficits. Bipolar disorder has also been found to overexpress neuronal
calcium sensor protein 1 (NCS-1). Recent studies showed that elements in the RAS generate
gamma band activity that is mediated by high threshold calcium (Ca2+) channels. This minireview
provides a description of recent findings on the role of Ca2+ and Ca2+ channels in bipolar
disorder, emphasizing the involvement of arousal-related systems in the manifestation of
many of the disease symptoms. This will hopefully bring attention to a much-needed area of
research and provide novel avenues for therapeutic development.
Keywords: Arousal, Ca2+ channels, gamma oscillations, lithium, N-type, P/Q-type, cAMP/PKA, CaMKII.
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