ATP-sensitive inwardly rectifying potassium channels (KATPs) couple cell metabolism with its membrane potential. The best characterized KATP is the pancreatic KATP which is an heteromultimer of Kir6.2 and SUR1 protein subunits. KATPs are found in a variety of excitable cells, including neurons of the central nervous system. Basal ganglia (BG), especially in the substantia nigra (SN) reticulata and the globus pallidus (GP), have a high density of KATPs. Pharmacological modulation of the KATPs within the BG alters GABAergic activity and produces behavioural changes. However, the relatively high concentrations of drugs used might not have been entirely selective for the KATPs and may have acted at presynaptic nerve terminals as well as on the post-synaptic neurons. As an alternative means of examining the role of KATPs in regulating motor behavior, we used oligoantisense technology to diminish selectively Kir6.2 formation in the GP neurons. We then examined the effect of reduction in Kir6.2 expression on apomorphine-induced turning behavior in rats with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions of the SN. Two weeks after injection of 6-OHDA, contralateral circling in response to apomorphine (0.25 mg/kg sc) was recorded. Kir6.2 antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide (ODN) was then administered daily for 6 days into the GP ipsilateral to the 6-OHDA injection. Responses to apomorphine were then tested again and the animals killed to determine the effect of the antisense ODN on Kir6. 2 mRNA. Administration of Kir6.2 antisense ODN significantly attenuated apomorphine-induced contralateral turning and specifically reduced Kir6.2 mRNA in the injected GP. These results are consistent with pharmacological experiments which suggest that KATP channels in the GP are involved in motor responses to apomorphine in 6-OHDA lesioned rats, localizing the effects to the GP neurons, probably through modulation of the GABAergic system.
Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.