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J Immunol. 2008 Jun 15;180(12):8040-7.

Blunted IgE-mediated activation of mast cells in mice lacking the Ca2+-activated K+ channel KCa3.1.

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Department of Physiology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


Mast cell stimulation by Ag is followed by the opening of Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels, which participate in the orchestration of mast cell degranulation. The present study has been performed to explore the involvement of the Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel K(Ca)3.1 in mast cell function. To this end mast cells have been isolated and cultured from the bone marrow (bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs)) of K(Ca)3.1 knockout mice (K(Ca)3.1(-/-)) and their wild-type littermates (K(Ca)3.1(+/+)). Mast cell number as well as in vitro BMMC growth and CD117, CD34, and FcepsilonRI expression were similar in both genotypes, but regulatory cell volume decrease was impaired in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) BMMCs. Treatment of the cells with Ag, endothelin-1, or the Ca(2+) ionophore ionomycin was followed by stimulation of Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels and cell membrane hyperpolarization in K(Ca)3.1(+/+), but not in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) BMMCs. Upon Ag stimulation, Ca(2+) entry but not Ca(2+) release from intracellular stores was markedly impaired in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) BMMCs. Similarly, Ca(2+) entry upon endothelin-1 stimulation was significantly reduced in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) cells. Ag-induced release of beta-hexosaminidase, an indicator of mast cell degranulation, was significantly smaller in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) BMMCs compared with K(Ca)3.1(+/+) BMMCs. Moreover, histamine release upon stimulation of BMMCs with endothelin-1 was reduced in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) cells. The in vivo Ag-induced decline in body temperature revealed that IgE-dependent anaphylaxis was again significantly (by approximately 50%) blunted in K(Ca)3.1(-/-) mice. In conclusion, K(Ca)3.1 is required for Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel activity and Ca(2+)-dependent processes such as endothelin-1- or Ag-induced degranulation of mast cells, and may thus play a critical role in anaphylactic reactions.

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