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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2011 Dec;31(12):2302-12. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2011.90. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

SK2 channels are neuroprotective for ischemia-induced neuronal cell death.

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Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA.


In mouse hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, the activity of synaptic small-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels type 2 (SK2 channels) provides a negative feedback on N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), reestablishing Mg(2+) block that reduces Ca(2+) influx. The well-established role of NMDARs in ischemia-induced excitotoxicity led us to test the neuroprotective effect of modulating SK2 channel activity following cerebral ischemia induced by cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CA/CPR). Administration of the SK channel positive modulator, 1-ethyl-benzimidazolinone (1-EBIO), significantly reduced CA1 neuron cell death and improved CA/CPR-induced cognitive outcome. Electrophysiological recordings showed that CA/CPR-induced ischemia caused delayed and sustained reduction of synaptic SK channel activity, and immunoelectron microscopy showed that this is associated with internalization of synaptic SK2 channels, which was prevented by 1-EBIO treatment. These results suggest that increasing SK2 channel activity, or preventing ischemia-induced loss of synaptic SK2 channels, are promising and novel approaches to neuroprotection following cerebral ischemia.

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