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Brain Res. 2006 Mar 10;1077(1):1-6. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Immunohistochemical analysis of KCNQ2 potassium channels in adult and developing mouse brain.

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  • 1Department of Neurology of the University of Ulm, Germany.


The syndrome of benign familial neonatal convulsions (BFNC) is characterized by seizures starting within the first days of life and disappearing within weeks to months. BFNC is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the potassium channels KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 which can well explain the resulting neuronal hyperexcitability. However, it is not understood why seizures predominantly occur in the neonatal period. A potential explanation might be a change in the expression pattern of these channels during development. We therefore performed an immunohistochemical analysis of mouse brain slices at different stages of postnatal development using an antibody recognizing the C-terminus of the KCNQ2 channel. A widespread immunohistochemical staining was observed, particularly in the hippocampus, caudoputamen, globus pallidus, cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus and midbrain. In the adult mouse brain, a predominantly axonal staining pattern was found, most observed in the caudoputamen, the alveus and the mossy fiber pathway of the hippocampus. The hippocampal staining pattern of adult mice was not observed before P8 and gradually developed between P11 and P21. Differences in the distribution of KCNQ2 channels within neurons between the neonatal period and adult stages might contribute to the increased seizure susceptibility in BFNC in humans.

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