The TREK K2P channels and their role in general anaesthesia and neuroprotection

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2004 Nov;25(11):601-8. doi: 10.1016/


Two-pore-domain K+ (K(2P)) channels are a diverse and highly regulated superfamily of channels that are thought to provide baseline regulation of membrane excitability. Of these, the TREK channels are expressed highly in the human CNS, and can be activated by temperature, membrane stretch and internal acidosis. In addition, TREK channels are sensitively activated by certain polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been shown to have neuroprotective activity and by volatile and gaseous general anaesthetics. New data derived from studies of knockout animals suggest that TREK-1 might have an important role in the general anaesthetic properties of volatile agents, such as halothane, and provide an explanation for the neuroprotective properties of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General*
  • Anesthetics, General / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain / chemistry
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain / physiology*


  • Anesthetics, General
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain
  • potassium channel protein TREK-1