PubMed 22527636

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav2.3 , Cav3.1 , SK3

Title: Microglial SK3 and SK4 currents and activation state are modulated by the neuroprotective drug, riluzole.

Authors: B-S Liu, R Ferreira, S Lively, L C Schlichter

Journal, date & volume: J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, 2013 Mar , 8, 227-37

PubMed link:

Microglia monitor the CNS for 'danger' signals after acute injury, such as stroke and trauma, and then undergo complex activation processes. Classical activation of microglia can produce neurotoxic levels of glutamate and immune mediators (e.g., pro-inflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species), while alternative activation up-regulates anti-inflammatory molecules and is thought to resolve inflammation and protect the brain. Thus, pharmacological strategies to decrease classical- and/or promote alternative activation are of interest. Here, we assessed actions of the neuroprotective drug, riluzole, on two Ca(2+)- activated K channels in microglia - SK3 (KCa2.3, KCNN3) and SK4 (KCa3.1, KCNN4) - and on classical versus alternative microglial activation. Riluzole is used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and is in clinical trials for several other CNS disorders, where it has been presumed to target neurons and reduce glutamate-mediated toxicity. We show that simply elevating intracellular Ca(2+) to micromolar levels in whole-cell recordings does not activate SK channels in a cell line derived from primary rat microglia (MLS-9). In intact cells, riluzole raised cytoplasmic Ca(2+), but it was marginal (~200 nM) and transient (2 min). Surprisingly then, in whole cell recordings, riluzole rapidly activated SK3 and SK4 channels for as long as it was present, and did not require elevated intracellular Ca(2+). We then used primary rat microglia to analyze expression of several activation markers and inflammatory mediators. Riluzole decreased classical LPS-induced activation, and increased some aspects of IL-4-induced alternative activation. These actions on microglia suggest an additional mechanism underlying the neuroprotective actions of riluzole.