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Mol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;72(3):665-73. Epub 2007 May 10.

Up-regulation and increased activity of KV3.4 channels and their accessory subunit MinK-related peptide 2 induced by amyloid peptide are involved in apoptotic neuronal death.

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  • 1Division of Pharmacology, Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.


The aim of the present study was to investigate whether K(V)3.4 channel subunits are involved in neuronal death induced by neurotoxic beta-amyloid peptides (Abeta). In particular, to test this hypothesis, three main questions were addressed: 1) whether the Abeta peptide can up-regulate both the transcription/translation and activity of K(V)3.4 channel subunit and its accessory subunit, MinK-related peptide 2 (MIRP2); 2) whether the increase in K(V)3.4 expression and activity can be mediated by the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) family of transcriptional factors; and 3) whether the specific inhibition of K(V)3.4 channel subunit reverts the Abeta peptide-induced neurodegeneration in hippocampal neurons and nerve growth factor (NGF)-differentiated PC-12 cells. We found that Abeta(1-42) treatment induced an increase in K(V)3.4 and MIRP2 transcripts and proteins, detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis, respectively, in NGF-differentiated PC-12 cells and hippocampal neurons. Patch-clamp experiments performed in whole-cell configuration revealed that the Abeta peptide caused an increase in I(A) current amplitude carried by K(V)3.4 channel subunits, as revealed by their specific blockade with blood depressing substance-I (BDS-I) in both hippocampal neurons and NGF-differentiated PC-12 cells. The inhibition of NF-kappaB nuclear translocation with the cell membrane-permeable peptide SN-50 prevented the increase in K(V)3.4 protein and transcript expression. In addition, the SN-50 peptide was able to block Abeta(1-42)-induced increase in K(V)3.4 K(+) currents and to prevent cell death caused by Abeta(1-42) exposure. Finally, BDS-I produced a similar neuroprotective effect by inhibiting the increase in K(V)3.4 expression. As a whole, our data indicate that K(V)3.4 channels could be a novel target for Alzheimer's disease pharmacological therapy.

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