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Int J Biol Sci. 2020 Jan 14;16(4):671-681. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.38950. eCollection 2020.

Blockage of Kv1.3 regulates macrophage migration in acute liver injury by targeting δ-catenin through RhoA signaling.

Wu B1,2,3,4, Liu JD1,2,3,4,5, Bian E6, Hu W6, Huang C1,2,3,4, Meng X1,2,3,4, Zhang L1,2,3,4, Lv X1,2,3,4, Li J1,2,3,4.

Author information

School of Pharmacy, Anhui Key Laboratory of Bioactivity of Natural Products, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China.
The Key Laboratory of Anti-inflammatory and Immune Medicine, Anhui Medical University, Ministry of Education, Hefei 230032, China.
Institute for Liver Diseases of Anhui Medical University, ILD-AMU, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China.
Anhui Institute of Innovative Drugs, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China.
The first affiliated hospital of Anhui medical university, Hefei 230032, China.
The second affiliated hospital of Anhui medical university, Hefei 230032, China.


Background: Activation of macrophages and infiltration are key events in acute liver injury (ALI). Kv1.3 plays an important role in regulating immunologic functions of macrophages and is extensively recognized as a potential ion channel for immunological diseases. Objective: We hypothesized that blockage of Kv1.3 may influence ALI by inhibiting macrophages infiltration in damaged liver tissues. Methods: Margatoxin was administered into the peritoneal cavity of ALI mice. The impact of this treatment on ALI and macrophage migration in vivo and in vitro was determined using immunohistochemistry, transwell migration, and wound healing assays. Results: MgTX treatment alleviated ALI in mice, as evidenced by reduced macrophage infiltration in liver tissues and lower serum levels of liver ALT and AST. RNA-seq profiling analysis showed that the most obvious change by MgTX treatment was downregulation of δ-catenin, a protein known to be associated with macrophage migration. The effect of MgTX on macrophage migration and involvement of δ-catenin was confirmed by transwell and wound healing assays. Overexpression of δ-catenin in RAW264.7 cells promoted migration, an event that was suppressed upon silencing of δ-catenin. Mechanistically, the expression of RhoA was regulated by the overexpression or knockdown of δ-catenin. Conclusion: These findings suggest a role for blockage of Kv1.3 channel in macrophage migration and reveal a new target in the treatment of ALI.


Acute liver injury; Kv1.3; Margatoxin; Migration; RhoA; δ-catenin

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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