PubMed 21606111

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv1.4 , Kv3.1 , Kv4.2

Title: Activation of κ opioid receptors increases intrinsic excitability of dentate gyrus granule cells.

Authors: Carmel M McDermott, Laura A Schrader

Journal, date & volume: J. Physiol. (Lond.), 2011 Jul 15 , 589, 3517-32

PubMed link:

The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is thought to control information flow into the rest of the hippocampus. Under pathological conditions, such as epilepsy, this protective feature is circumvented and uninhibited activity flows throughout the hippocampus. Many factors can modulate excitability of the dentate gyrus and ultimately, the hippocampus. It is therefore of critical importance to understand the mechanisms involved in regulating excitability in the dentate gyrus. Dynorphin, the endogenous ligand for the kappa (κ) opioid receptor (KOR), is thought to be involved in neuromodulation in the dentate gyrus. Both dynorphin and its receptor are widely expressed in the dentate gyrus and have been implicated in epilepsy and other complex behaviours such as stress-induced deficits in learning and stress-induced depression-like behaviours. Administration of KOR agonists can prevent both the behavioural and electroencephalographic measures of seizures in several different models of epilepsy. Antagonism of the KORs also prevents stress-induced behaviours. This evidence suggests the KORs as possible therapeutic targets for various pathological conditions. In addition, KOR agonists prevent the induction of LTP. Although there are several mechanisms through which dynorphin could mediate these effects, no studies to date investigated the effects of KOR activation on intrinsic membrane properties and cell excitability. We used whole-cell, patch-clamp recordings from acute mouse hippocampus slices to investigate the effect of KOR activation on dentate gyrus granule cell excitability. The agonist U69,593 (U6, 1 μM) resulted in a lower spike threshold, a decreased latency to first spike, an increased spike half-width, and an overall increase in spike number with current injections ranging from 15 to 45 pA. There was also a reduction in the interspike interval (ISI) both early and late in the spike train, with no change in membrane potential or input resistance. Preincubation of the slice with the selective KOR antagonist, nor-binalthorphimine (BNI, 1 μM) inhibited the effect of U6 on the latency to first spike and spike half-width suggesting that these effects are mediated through KORs. The inclusion of GDP-βS (1 mM) in the recording pipette prevented all of the U6 effects, suggesting that all effects are mediated via a G-protein-dependent mechanism. Inclusion of the A-type K+ current blocker, 4-aminopyridine (4-AP, 5 mM) in the pipette also antagonised the effects of U6. Kv4.2 is one of the channel α subunits thought to be responsible for carrying the A-type K+ current. Incubation of hippocampus slices with U6 resulted in a decrease in the Kv4.2 subunit protein at the cell surface. These results are consistent with an increase in cell excitability in response to KOR activation and may reflect new possibilities for additional opioid functions.