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Brain Res. 2002 Mar 22;931(1):56-67.

Functional expression of TREK-2 K+ channel in cultured rat brain astrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064-3095, USA.

Abstract

Background K+ channels whose subunit contains four transmembrane segments and two pore-forming domains (4TM/2P) have been cloned recently. We studied whether 4TM/2P K+ channels are functionally expressed in astrocytes that are known to have a large background (resting) K+ conductance and a large resting membrane potential. Reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis showed that, among five 4TM/2P K+ channels examined, TASK-1, TASK-3 and TREK-2 mRNAs were expressed in cultured astrocytes from rat cortex. In cell-attached patches, we mainly observed three K+ channels with single-channel conductances of 30, 117 and 176 pS (-40 mV) in symmetrical 140 mM KCl. The 30 pS channel was the inward rectifying K+ channel that has been previously described in astrocytes. The 117 pS K+ channel also showed inward rectification and was insensitive to 1 mM tetraethylammonium and 1 mM 4-aminopyridine. The 176 pS channel was the Ca2+-activated K+ channel. The 117 pS K+ channel was determined to be TREK-2, as judged by its electrophysiological properties and activation by membrane stretch, free fatty acids and intracellular acidosis. In approximately 50% of astrocytes in culture, whole-cell K+ current increased markedly following application of arachidonic acid. The number of TREK-2 channels in these cells was estimated to be approximately 500-1000/cell. Our results show that TREK-2 is functionally expressed in cortical astrocytes in culture, and suggest that TREK-2 may be involved in K+ homeostasis of astrocytes during pathological states.

PMID:
11897089
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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