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An immunocytochemical study on the distribution of two G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channels (GIRK2 and GIRK4) in the adult rat brain.

G Murer, C Adelbrecht, I Lauritzen, F Lesage, M Lazdunski, Y Agid, R Raisman-Vozari

Neuroscience, 1997 Sep , 80, 345-57

G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channels mediate the synaptic actions of numerous neurotransmitters in the mammalian brain, and were recently shown to be candidates for genetic mutations leading to neuronal cell death. This report describes the localization of G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel-2 and G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel-4 proteins in the rat brain, as assessed by immunocytochemistry. G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel-2 immunoreactivity was widely distributed throughout the brain, with the strongest staining seen in the hippocampus, septum, granule cell layer of the cerebellum, amygdala and substantia nigra pars compacta. In contrast, G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel-4 immunoreactivity was restricted to some neuronal populations, such as Purkinje cells and neurons of the globus pallidus and the ventral pallidum. The presence of G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel-2 immunoreactivity in substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons was confirmed by showing its co-localization with tyrosine hydroxylase by double immunocytochemistry, and also by selectively lesioning dopaminergic neurons with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine. At the cellular level both proteins were localized in neuronal cell bodies and dendrites, but clear differences were seen in the degree of dendritic staining among neuronal groups. For some neuronal groups the staining of distal dendrites (notably dendritic spines) was strong, while for others the cell body and proximal dendrites were preferentially labelled. In addition, some of the results suggest that G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel-2 protein could be localized in distal axonal terminal fields. A knowledge of the distribution of G-protein-gated inward rectifier potassium channel proteins in the brain could help to elucidate their physiological roles and to evaluate their potential involvement in neurodegenerative processes in animal models and human diseases.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9284339