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Functions of SK channels in central neurons.

E S Louise Faber, Pankaj Sah

Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol., 2007 Oct , 34, 1077-83

1. SK channels are small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels that are widely expressed in neurons. The traditional view of the functional role of SK channels is in mediating one component of the after-hyperpolarization that follows action potentials. Calcium influx via voltage-gated calcium channels active during action potentials opens SK channels and the resultant hyperpolarization lowers the firing frequency of action potentials in many neurons. 2. Recent advances have shown that, in addition to controlling action potential firing frequency, SK channels are also important in regulating dendritic excitability, synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. 3. In accordance with their role in modulating synaptic plasticity, SK channels are also important in regulating several learning and memory tasks and may also play a role in a number of neurological disorders. 4. The present review discusses recent findings on the role of SK channels in central neurons.