The calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) was first identified in parathyroid glands, and its primary role in controlling systemic calcium homeostasis by the regulation of parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion has been extensively described in literature. Additionally, the receptor has also been investigated in cells and tissues not directly involved in calcium homeostasis, e.g., the nervous system (NS), where it plays crucial roles in early neural development for the differentiation of neurons and glial cells, as well as in the adult nervous system for synaptic transmission and plasticity. Advances in the knowledge of the CaSR’s function in such physiological processes have encouraged researchers to further broaden the receptor’s investigation in the neuro-pathological conditions of the NS. Interestingly, pre-clinical data suggest that receptor inhibition by calcilytics might be effective in counteracting the pathomechanism underlying Alzheimer’s disease and ischemia, while a CaSR positive modulation with calcimimetics has been proposed as a potential approach for treating neuroblastoma. Importantly, such promising findings led to the repurposing of CaSR modulators as novel pharmacological alternatives for these disorders. Therefore, the aim of this review article is to critically appraise evidence which, so far, has been yielded from the investigation of the role of the CaSR in physiology of the nervous system and to focus on the most recent emerging concepts which have reported the receptor as a therapeutic target for neurodegeneration and neuroblastic tumors.
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