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J Neurochem. 2007 Oct;103(2):569-79. Epub 2007 Jul 17.

ATP-sensitive potassium channel opener iptakalim protects against MPP-induced astrocytic apoptosis via mitochondria and mitogen-activated protein kinase signal pathways.

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Laboratory of Neuropharmacology, Institute of Neurosciences, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, P. R. China.


Inhibition of astrocytic apoptosis has been regarded as a novel prospective strategy for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease. In the present study, we demonstrated that iptakalim (IPT), an ATP-sensitive potassium channel (K(ATP) channel) opener, exerted protective effect on MPP(+)-induced astrocytic apoptosis, which was reversed by selective mitochondrial K(ATP) channel blocker 5-hydroxydecanoate. Further study revealed that IPT inhibited glutathione (GSH) depletion, mitochondrial membrane potential loss and subsequent release of pro-apoptotic factors (cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) phosphorylation induced by MPP(+). Meanwhile, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 inhibitor PD98059 inhibited the protective effect of IPT on MPP(+)-induced astrocytic apoptosis. Furthermore, IPT could also activate ERK/MAPK and maintain increased phospho-ERK1/2 level after MPP(+) exposure. Taken together, these findings reveal for the first time that IPT protects against MPP(+)-induced astrocytic apoptosis via inhibition of mitochondria apoptotic pathway and regulating the MAPK signal transduction pathways by opening mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium (mitoK(ATP)) channels in astrocytes. And targeting K(ATP) channels expressed in astrocytes may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative disorders.

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