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Inward rectifier K(+) channel Kir2.3 (IRK3) in reactive astrocytes from adult rat brain.

P R Perillán, X Li, E A Potts, M Chen, D S Bredt, J M Simard

Glia, 2000 Aug , 31, 181-92

Astrocytic inward rectifying K(+) channels that participate in K(+) spatial buffering in the central nervous system have been extensively investigated, but specific gene products have not been fully identified. We studied primary cultured reactive astrocytes of stellate and polygonal morphology from adult rat brains, as well as stellate astrocytes from neonatal rat brains. Single-channel recordings of cell-attached patches revealed that polygonal reactive astrocytes expressed only one hyperpolarization-activated single-channel conductance of 11-15 pS whose open probability was independent of voltage, whereas stellate reactive and stellate neonatal astrocytes exhibited two conductances, 11-15 pS and 24-27 pS. All three subtypes of astrocytes exhibited a hyperpolarization-activated macroscopic inward K(+) current that was strongly rectifying and was abrogated by 1 mM intracellular Mg(2+) introduced during conventional but not perforated patch whole-cell recording. This Mg(2+)-sensitive current comprised the total inward rectifier current in polygonal reactive astrocytes, but only a fraction of the inward rectifier current in stellate reactive and stellate neonatal astrocytes. Because a strongly rectifying, inward rectifier K(+) channel with a single-channel conductance of 11-15 pS that is voltage independent is consistent with features of Kir2.3 (IRK3), we performed immunofluorescence experiments with anti-Kir2.3 and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein antibodies. Both antibodies co-localized to all three subtypes of astrocytes in primary culture and to reactive astrocytes in situ within brain and gelatin sponge implants. Our data indicate that astrocytes of both polygonal and stellate morphology, from both adult and neonatal rat brain, express Kir2.3 both in vivo and in vitro. Constitutive expression of Kir2.3 regardless of cell morphology or age of origin of the source tissue suggests an important functional role for this channel in astrocytes.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10878604