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Potassium channel expression and function in microglia: Plasticity and possible species variations


Potassium channels play important roles in microglia functions and thus constitute potential targets for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer, Parkinson and stroke. However, uncertainty still prevails as to which potassium channels are expressed and at what levels in different species, how the expression pattern changes upon activation with M1 or M2 polarizing stimuli compared with more complex exposure paradigms, and - most importantly - how these findings relate to the in vivo situation. In this mini-review we discuss the functional potassium channel expression pattern in cultured neonatal mouse microglia in the light of data obtained previously from animal disease models and immunohistochemical studies and compare it with a recent study of adult human microglia isolated from epilepsy patients. Overall, microglial potassium channel expression is very plastic and possibly shows species differences and therefore should be studied carefully in each disease setting and respective animal models.

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