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J Neurochem. 2008 Nov;107(4):1158-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05701.x. Epub 2008 Sep 24.

TNF-alpha-mediates neuroprotection against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity via NF-kappaB-dependent up-regulation of K2.2 channels.

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Department of Molecular Neurobiology, University of Groningen, Haren, The Netherlands.


Previous studies have shown that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) induces neuroprotection against excitotoxic damage in primary cortical neurons via sustained nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) activation. The transcription factor NF-kappaB can regulate the expression of small conductance calcium-activated potassium (K(Ca)) channels. These channels reduce neuronal excitability and as such may yield neuroprotection against neuronal overstimulation. In the present study we investigated whether TNF-alpha-mediated neuroprotective signaling is inducing changes in the expression of small conductance K(Ca) channels. Interestingly, the expression of K(Ca)2.2 channel was up-regulated by TNF-alpha treatment in a time-dependent manner whereas the expression of K(Ca)2.1 and K(Ca)2.3 channels was not altered. The increase in K(Ca)2.2 channel expression after TNF-alpha treatment was shown to be dependent on TNF-R2 and NF-kappaB activation. Furthermore, activation of small conductance K(Ca) channels by 6,7-dichloro-1H-indole-2,3-dione 3-oxime or cyclohexyl-[2-(3,5-dimethyl-pyrazol-1-yl)-6-methyl-pyrimidin-4-yl]-amine-induced neuroprotection against a glutamate challenge. Treatment with the small conductance K(Ca) channel blocker apamin or K(Ca)2.2 channel siRNA reverted the neuroprotective effect elicited by TNF-alpha. We conclude that treatment of primary cortical neurons with TNF-alpha leads to increased K(Ca)2.2 channel expression which renders neurons more resistant to excitotoxic cell death.

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