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Am J Pathol. 2007 Aug;171(2):589-98. Epub 2007 Jun 28.

Re-expression of a developmentally restricted potassium channel in autoimmune demyelination: Kv1.4 is implicated in oligodendroglial proliferation.

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Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.


Mechanisms of lesion repair in multiple sclerosis are incompletely understood. To some degree, remyelination can occur, associated with an increase of proliferating oligodendroglial cells. Recently, the expression of potassium channels has been implicated in the control of oligodendrocyte precursor cell proliferation in vitro. We investigated the expression of Kv1.4 potassium channels in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a model of multiple sclerosis. Confocal microscopy revealed expression of Kv1.4 in AN2-positive oligodendrocyte precursor cells and premyelinating oligodendrocytes in vitro but neither in mature oligodendrocytes nor in the spinal cords of healthy adult mice. After induction of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Kv1.4 immunoreactivity was detected in or around lesions already during disease onset with a peak early and a subsequent decrease in the late phase of the disease. Kv1.4 expression was confined to 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase-positive oligodendroglial cells, which were actively proliferating and ensheathed naked axons. After a demyelinating episode, the number of Kv1.4 and 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase double-positive cells was greatly reduced in ciliary neurotrophic factor knockout mice, a model with impaired lesion repair. In summary, the re-expression of an oligodendroglial potassium channel may have a functional implication on oligodendroglial cell cycle progression, thus influencing tissue repair in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.

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