Down-regulation of Kir4.1 in the cerebral cortex of rats with liver failure and in cultured astrocytes treated with glutamine: Implications for astrocytic dysfunction in hepatic encephalopathy.
ABSTRACT Brain edema in acute hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is due mainly to swelling of astrocytes. Efflux of potassium is implicated in the prevention of glial swelling under hypoosmotic conditions. We investigated whether pathogenic factors of HE, glutamine (Gln) and/or ammonia, induce alterations in the expression of glial potassium channels (Kir4.1, Kir2.1) and Na(+) -K(+) -2Cl(-) cotransporter-1 (NKCC1) in rat cerebral cortex and cultured rat cortical astrocytes and whether these alterations have consequences for potassium efflux and astrocytic swelling. Thioacetamide-induced acute liver failure in rats resulted in significant decreases in the Kir4.1 mRNA and protein contents of cerebral cortex, whereas expression of Kir2.1 and NKCC1 remained unaltered. Incubation of primary cortical astrocytes for 72 hr in the presence of Gln (5 mM), but not of ammonia (5 mM or 10 mM), induced a decrease in the levels of Kir4.1 mRNA and protein. Similarly to incubation with Gln, reduction of Kir4.1 mRNA expression by RNA interference caused swelling of astrocytes as shown by confocal imaging followed by 3D computational analysis. Gln reduced the astrocytic uptake of D-[(3) H]aspartate, but, in contrast to the earlier reported effect of ammonia, this reduction was not accompanied by decreased expression of the astrocytic glutamate transporter GLT-1 mRNA. Both Gln and ammonia decreased hypoosmolarity-induced (86) Rb efflux from the cells, but the effect was more pronounced with Gln. The results indicate that down-regulation of Kir4.1 may mediate distinct aspects of Gln-induced astrocytic dysfunction in HE.
Article: Distinct expression/function of potassium and chloride channels contributes to the diverse volume regulation in cortical astrocytes of GFAP/EGFP mice.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Recently, we have identified two astrocytic subpopulations in the cortex of GFAP-EGFP mice, in which the astrocytes are visualized by the enhanced green-fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the human glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promotor. These astrocytic subpopulations, termed high response- (HR-) and low response- (LR-) astrocytes, differed in the extent of their swelling during oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). In the present study we focused on identifying the ion channels or transporters that might underlie the different capabilities of these two astrocytic subpopulations to regulate their volume during OGD. Using three-dimensional confocal morphometry, which enables quantification of the total astrocytic volume, the effects of selected inhibitors of K⁺ and Cl⁻ channels/transporters or glutamate transporters on astrocyte volume changes were determined during 20 minute-OGD in situ. The inhibition of volume regulated anion channels (VRACs) and two-pore domain potassium channels (K(2P)) highlighted their distinct contributions to volume regulation in HR-/LR-astrocytes. While the inhibition of VRACs or K(2P) channels revealed their contribution to the swelling of HR-astrocytes, in LR-astrocytes they were both involved in anion/K⁺ effluxes. Additionally, the inhibition of Na⁺-K⁺-Cl⁻ co-transporters in HR-astrocytes led to a reduction of cell swelling, but it had no effect on LR-astrocyte volume. Moreover, employing real-time single-cell quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we characterized the expression profiles of EGFP-positive astrocytes with a focus on those ion channels and transporters participating in astrocyte swelling and volume regulation. The PCR data revealed the existence of two astrocytic subpopulations markedly differing in their gene expression levels for inwardly rectifying K⁺ channels (Kir4.1), K(2P) channels (TREK-1 and TWIK-1) and Cl⁻ channels (ClC2). Thus, we propose that the diverse volume changes displayed by cortical astrocytes during OGD mainly result from their distinct expression patterns of ClC2 and K(2P) channels.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e29725. · 4.09 Impact Factor