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Glia. 2011 Jun;59(6):973-80. doi: 10.1002/glia.21169. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Impact of aquaporin-4 channels on K+ buffering and gap junction coupling in the hippocampus.

Author information

1
Institute of Cellular Neurosciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany. christian.steinhaeuser@ukb.uni-bonn.de

Abstract

Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is the main water channel in the brain and primarily localized to astrocytes where the channels are thought to contribute to water and K(+) homeostasis. The close apposition of AQP4 and inward rectifier K(+) channels (Kir4.1) led to the hypothesis of direct functional interactions between both channels. We investigated the impact of AQP4 on stimulus-induced alterations of the extracellular K(+) concentration ([K(+)](o)) in murine hippocampal slices. Recordings with K(+)-selective microelectrodes combined with field potential analyses were compared in wild type (wt) and AQP4 knockout (AQP4(-/-)) mice. Astrocyte gap junction coupling was assessed with tracer filling during patch clamp recording. Antidromic fiber stimulation in the alveus evoked smaller increases and slower recovery of [K(+)](o) in the stratum pyramidale of AQP4(-/-) mice indicating reduced glial swelling and a larger extracellular space when compared with control tissue. Moreover, the data hint at an impairment of the glial Na(+)/K(+) ATPase in AQP4-deficient astrocytes. In a next step, we investigated the laminar profile of [K(+)](o) by moving the recording electrode from the stratum pyramidale toward the hippocampal fissure. At distances beyond 300 μm from the pyramidal layer, the stimulation-induced, normalized increases of [K(+)](o) in AQP4(-/-) mice exceeded the corresponding values of wt mice, indicating facilitated spatial buffering. Astrocytes in AQP4(-/-) mice also displayed enhanced tracer coupling, which might underlie the improved spatial re- distribution of [K(+)](o) in the hippocampus. These findings highlight the role of AQP4 channels in the regulation of K(+) homeostasis.

PMID:
21446052
DOI:
10.1002/glia.21169
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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