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Glia. 2004 Nov 1;48(2):156-65.

K+ channel blockade impairs remyelination in the cuprizone model.

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Department of Neurology and Committee on Neurobiology, Brain Research Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


The adult CNS has the capacity to remyelinate following metabolic, toxic and autoimmune demyelinating insults. In cuprizone-induced demyelination, spontaneous remyelination occurs after the cessation of cuprizone diet. We used the cuprizone model to investigate the role of glial K(+) channels in oligodendroglial (OLG) regeneration and remyelination in vivo. We found that treatment with 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), a broad-spectrum K(+) channel antagonist, results in: (1) decreased number of oligodendroglial progenitors (OP) and OLGs; (2) diminished astrogliosis; and (3) decreased remyelination in the corpus callosum based on the immunoreactivity to myelin basic protein (MBP), Rip monoclonal antibody, and by electron microscopy. Our findings support the concept that glial K(+) channels play an important role during OLG regeneration and remyelination, a crucial factor to be considered during the development of therapeutic strategies to facilitate recovery in demyelinating diseases and spinal cord injury.

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