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.
- SourceAvailable from: Wojciech Hilgier
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
- "The above sequence of events is causally related, among other factors, to excessive accumulation of GLU in the extracellular (perisynaptic) space of the brain, seen both in experimental HE animals    and human HE patients . Two mutually not exclusive mechanisms have been implicated in the increase of extracellular GLU in HE: (i) impaired reuptake of released GLU to astrocytes associated with downregulation of astrocytic GLU transporters   and/or of the inward rectifying astrocytic potassium channel Kir4.1 ; (ii) increased synaptic  or astrocytic GLU release  , partly related to excessive activation of NMDA receptors  . While the relative contribution of mechanisms (i) and (ii) at different stages of HE has not been accurately assessed, investigations reported up-to-date unambiguously underscore the role of increased NMDA receptor-mediated neuronal GLU release in its acute phase  . "
ABSTRACT: Kynurenic acid (KYNA) modulates the glutamatergic tone by controlling neuronal glutamate (GLU) release. The present study tested the potential of the KYNA precursor, kynurenine (KYN) to counter increased extracellular GLU associated with the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy accompanying acute liver failure (ALF).Pharmacological reports: PR 06/2014; 66(3):466-470. DOI:10.1016/j.pharep.2013.11.007 · 2.17 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Glutamine (Gln) is found abundantly in the central nervous system (CNS) where it participates in a variety of metabolic pathways. Its major role in the brain is that of a precursor of the neurotransmitter amino acids: the excitatory amino acids, glutamate (Glu) and aspartate (Asp), and the inhibitory amino acid, γ-amino butyric acid (GABA). The precursor-product relationship between Gln and Glu/GABA in the brain relates to the intercellular compartmentalization of the Gln/Glu(GABA) cycle (GGC). Gln is synthesized from Glu and ammonia in astrocytes, in a reaction catalyzed by Gln synthetase (GS), which, in the CNS, is almost exclusively located in astrocytes (Martinez-Hernandez et al., 1977). Newly synthesized Gln is transferred to neurons and hydrolyzed by phosphate-activated glutaminase (PAG) to give rise to Glu, a portion of which may be decarboxylated to GABA or transaminated to Asp. There is a rich body of evidence which indicates that a significant proportion of the Glu, Asp and GABA derived from Gln feed the synaptic, neurotransmitter pools of the amino acids. Depolarization-induced-, calcium- and PAG activity-dependent releases of Gln-derived Glu, GABA and Asp have been observed in CNS preparations in vitro and in the brain in situ. Immunocytochemical studies in brain slices have documented Gln transfer from astrocytes to neurons as well as the location of Gln-derived Glu, GABA and Asp in the synaptic terminals. Patch-clamp studies in brain slices and astrocyte/neuron co-cultures have provided functional evidence that uninterrupted Gln synthesis in astrocytes and its transport to neurons, as mediated by specific carriers, promotes glutamatergic and GABA-ergic transmission. Gln entry into the neuronal compartment is facilitated by its abundance in the extracellular spaces relative to other amino acids. Gln also appears to affect neurotransmission directly by interacting with the NMDA class of Glu receptors. Transmission may also be modulated by alterations in cell membrane polarity related to the electrogenic nature of Gln transport or to uncoupled ion conductances in the neuronal or glial cell membranes elicited by Gln transporters. In addition, Gln appears to modulate the synthesis of the gaseous messenger, nitric oxide (NO), by controlling the supply to the cells of its precursor, arginine. Disturbances of Gln metabolism and/or transport contribute to changes in Glu-ergic or GABA-ergic transmission associated with different pathological conditions of the brain, which are best recognized in epilepsy, hepatic encephalopathy and manganese encephalopathy.Neuron Glia Biology 11/2010; 6(4):263-76. DOI:10.1017/S1740925X11000093 · 6.64 Impact Factor
- [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. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029725 · 3.53 Impact Factor