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Neuroscience. 2007 Oct 26;149(2):421-33. Epub 2007 Jul 17.

Deafness associated changes in two-pore domain potassium channels in the rat inferior colliculus.

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Kresge Hearing Research Institute, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck, Surgery, University of Michigan, 1301 East Ann Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0506, USA.


Two-pore potassium channels can influence neuronal excitability by regulating background leakage of potassium ions and resting membrane potential. The present study used quantitative real time PCR and in situ hybridization to determine if the decreased activity from deafness would induce changes in two-pore potassium channel subunit expression in the rat inferior colliculus (IC). Ten subunits were assessed with quantitative real-time PCR at 3 days, 3 weeks and 3 months following bilateral cochlear ablation. TASK-1, TASK-5 and THIK-2 showed significant decreases in expression at all three times assessed. TASK-5, relatively specific to auditory neurons, had the greatest decrease. TWIK-1 was significantly decreased at 3 weeks and 3 months following deafness and TREK-2 was only significantly decreased at 3 days. TASK-3, TWIK-2, THIK-1, TRAAK and TREK-1 did not show any significant changes in gene expression. In situ hybridization was used to examine TASK-1, TASK-5, TWIK-1 and THIK-2 in the central nucleus, dorsal cortex and lateral (external) cortex of the IC in normal hearing animals and at 3 weeks following deafening. All four subunits showed expression in neurons throughout IC subdivisions in normal hearing rats, with TASK-5 having the greatest overall number of labeled neurons. There was no co-localization of subunit expression with glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostaining, indicating no expression in glia. Three weeks following deafening there was a significant decrease in the number of neurons expressing TASK-1 and THIK-2 in the IC, while TASK-5 had significant decreases in the central nucleus and dorsal cortex and TWIK-1 in the lateral and dorsal cortices.

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