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J Neurosci. 2005 Nov 30;25(48):11184-93.

Calcium- and metabolic state-dependent modulation of the voltage-dependent Kv2.1 channel regulates neuronal excitability in response to ischemia.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Ischemic stroke is often accompanied by neuronal hyperexcitability (i.e., seizures), which aggravates brain damage. Therefore, suppressing stroke-induced hyperexcitability and associated excitoxicity is a major focus of treatment for ischemic insults. Both ATP-dependent and Ca2+-activated K+ channels have been implicated in protective mechanisms to suppress ischemia-induced hyperexcitability. Here we provide evidence that the localization and function of Kv2.1, the major somatodendritic delayed rectifier voltage-dependent K+ channel in central neurons, is regulated by hypoxia/ischemia-induced changes in metabolic state and intracellular Ca2+ levels. Hypoxia/ischemia in rat brain induced a dramatic dephosphorylation of Kv2.1 and the translocation of surface Kv2.1 from clusters to a uniform localization. In cultured rat hippocampal neurons, chemical ischemia (CI) elicited a similar dephosphorylation and translocation of Kv2.1. These events were reversible and were mediated by Ca2+ release from intracellular stores and calcineurin-mediated Kv2.1 dephosphorylation. CI also induced a hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependent activation of neuronal delayed rectifier currents (IK), leading to enhanced IK and suppressed neuronal excitability. The IK blocker tetraethylammonium reversed the ischemia-induced suppression of excitability and aggravated ischemic neuronal damage. Our results show that Kv2.1 can act as a novel Ca2+- and metabolic state-sensitive K+ channel and suggest that dynamic modulation of IK/Kv2.1 in response to hypoxia/ischemia suppresses neuronal excitability and could confer neuroprotection in response to brief ischemic insults.

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