Voltage-gated potassium channels: from hyperexcitability to excitement

FEBS Lett. 1999 Jun 4;452(1-2):31-5. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(99)00535-9.


The superfamily of voltage-activated potassium channels may express structurally and functionally diverse voltage-activated potassium channels in the nervous system. The roles of some voltage-activated potassium channel types, e.g. rapidly inactivating (transiently active type) channels and muscarine sensitive muscarine sensitive channels, are beginning to be understood. They may significantly influence dendritic action-potential back-propagation, signal to noise ratios in presynaptic excitability or the responsiveness of a neuron to synaptic input. Inherited disorders related to changes in excitability (episodic ataxia, epilepsy, heart arrhythmia) or to defects in sensory perception (hearing loss) have been associated with mutations in a few voltage-activated potassium channel genes. Most likely, more voltage-activated potassium channel genes will be linked to related disorders in the near future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology*
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*


  • Potassium Channels