Potassium channels as therapeutic targets for autoimmune disorders

Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2003 Sep;6(5):640-7.


In human T-lymphocytes, the voltage-gated Kv1.3 channel and the Ca(2+)-activated IKCa1 channel play an important role in Ca2+ signaling, activation, adhesion and migration and have, therefore, long been regarded as attractive targets for immunotherapy. Here, we review the pharmacology of the two channels, their expression pattern in naïve and memory T-cells and their functional roles during T-cell activation, and explain the rationale for the use of Kv1.3 blockers for the therapy of T-cell mediated autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intermediate-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Phenotype
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Intermediate-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels
  • KCNA3 protein, human
  • KCNN4 protein, human
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated