Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Generation and Characterization of the Cation-Chloride Cotransporter KCC2 Hypomorphic Mouse

Janne Tornberg

Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

The cation-Cl- cotransporter (CCC) family comprises of Na+-Cl- cotransporter (NCC), Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporters (NKCC1-2), and four K+-Cl- cotransporters (KCC1-4). These proteins are involved in several physiological activities, such as cell volume regulation. In neuronal tissues, NKCC1 and KCC2 are important in determining the intracellular Cl- levels and hence the neuronal responses to inhibitory neurotransmitters GABA and glycine.

One aim of the work was to elucidate the roles for CCC isoforms in the control of nervous system development. KCC2 mRNA was shown to be developmentally up-regulated and follow neuronal maturation, whereas NKCC1 and KCC4 transcripts were highly expressed in the proliferative zones of subcortical regions. KCC1 and KCC3 mRNA displayed low expression throughout the embryogenesis. These expression profiles suggest a role for CCC isoforms in maturation of synaptic responses and in the regulation of neuronal proliferation during embryogenesis.

The major aim of this work was to study the biological consequences of KCC2-deficiency in the adult CNS, by generating transgenic mice retaining 15-20% of normal KCC2 levels. In addition, by using these mice as a tool for in vivo pharmacological analysis, we investigated the requirements for KCC2 in tonic versus phasic GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition. KCC2-deficient mice displayed normal reproduction and life span, but showed several behavioral abnormalities, including increased anxiety-like behavior, impaired performance in water maze, alterations in nociceptive processing, and increased seizure susceptibility. In contrast, the mice displayed apparently normal spontaneous locomotor activity and motor coordination.

Pharmacological analysis of KCC2-deficient mice revealed reduced sensititivity to diazepam, but normal gaboxadol-induced sedation, neurosteroid hypnosis and alcohol-induced motor impairment. Electrophysiological recordings from CA1-CA3 subregions of the hippocampus showed that KCC2 deficiency affected the reversal potentials of both the phasic and tonic GABA currents, and that the tonic conductance was not affected. The results suggest that requirement for KCC2 in GABAergic neurotransmission may differ among several functional systems in the CNS, which is possibly due to the more critical role of KCC2 activity in phasic compared to tonic GABAergic inhibition.

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Last updated 08.11.2006

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