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Channels (Austin). 2019 Dec;13(1):299-307. doi: 10.1080/19336950.2019.1635864.

Kv1.1 channel subunits in the control of neurocardiac function.

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a Department of Biological Sciences , Southern Methodist University , Dallas , TX , USA.


Voltage-gated Kv1.1 potassium channel α-subunits are broadly expressed in the nervous system where they act as critical regulators of neuronal excitability. Mutations in the KCNA1 gene, which encodes Kv1.1, are associated with the neurological diseases episodic ataxia and epilepsy. Studies in mouse models have shown that Kv1.1 is important for neural control of the heart and that Kcna1 deletion leads to cardiac dysfunction that appears to be brain-driven. Traditionally, KCNA1 was not believed to be expressed in the heart. However, recent studies have revealed that Kv1.1 subunits are not only present in cardiomyocytes, but that they also make an important heart-intrinsic functional contribution to outward K+ currents and action potential repolarization. This review recounts the winding history of discovery of KCNA1 gene expression and neurocardiac function from fruit flies to mammals and from brain to heart and looks at some of the salient questions that remain to be answered regarding emerging cardiac roles of Kv1.1.


Kcna1; Kv1.1; SUDEP; action potential; epilepsy; heart

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