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Localization of pore-forming subunit of the ATP-sensitive K(+)-channel, Kir6.2, in rat brain neurons and glial cells.

Ming Zhou, Osamu Tanaka, Masakazu Suzuki, Masaki Sekiguchi, Kuniaki Takata, Katsumasa Kawahara, Hiroshi Abe

Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res., 2002 May 30 , 101, 23-32

Kir6.2, a subunit of the ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (K(ATP)), was localized in adult rat brain by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. The Kir6.2 mRNA was widely expressed in most rat brain neuronal populations and nuclei examined, intensely in the mitral cell layer and tufted cells of the olfactory bulb, pontine nucleus, pontine reticular nucleus, motor and spinal trigeminal nuclei and cuneate nuclei of the brain stem, moderately in the neocortex and cerebellar Purkinje cells, and weakly in the granular cell layer of the olfactory bulb and the granular layer of the cerebellum. In addition, glial cells also expressed the Kir6.2 gene weakly in the corpus callosum and cerebellar white matter. This wide localization of the gene was quite similar to that of Kir6.2 protein. Double stainings with anti-GFAP and anti-Kir6.2 antibodies were performed in this study. Glial cells showing immunoreactivity to both anti-Kir6.2 and anti-GFAP were confirmed to be astrocytes, and those showing only immunoreactivity to anti-Kir6.2 but not to anti-GFAP were presumed to be oligodendrocytes and confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy. Thus, it may be concluded that both oligodendrocytes and astrocytes contain Kir6.2. Under the electron microscope, we showed in vivo for the first time that the immunoreactive products were localized in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus as well as the plasma membranes of neurons and glial cells.