Differential expression of Na+/K+-ATPase alpha-subunits in mouse hippocampal interneurones and pyramidal cells

J Physiol. 2007 Dec 1;585(Pt 2):491-505. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2007.144733. Epub 2007 Oct 18.


The sodium pump (Na+/K+-ATPase), maintains intracellular and extracellular concentrations of sodium and potassium by catalysing ATP. Three sodium pump alpha subunits, ATP1A1, ATP1A2 and ATP1A3, are expressed in brain. We compared their role in pyramidal cells and a subset of interneurones in the subiculum. Interneurones were identified by their expression of GFP under the GAD-65 promoter. We used the sensitivity to the cardiac glycoside, ouabain, to discriminate between different alpha subunit isoforms. GFP-positive interneurones were depolarized by nanomolar doses of ouabain, but higher concentrations were needed to depolarize pyramidal cells. Comparison of pump currents in these cells revealed a current sensitive to low doses of ouabain in interneurones, while micromolar doses of ouabain were needed to suppress the pump current in subicular pyramidal cells. As predicted, nanomolar doses of ouabain increased the frequency but not the amplitudes of IPSPs in pyramidal cells. Immunostaining confirmed a differential distribution of alpha-subunits of the Na+/K+-ATPase in subicular interneurones and pyramidal cells. In conclusion, these data suggest that while ATP1A3-isoforms regulate sodium and potassium homeostasis in subicular interneurones, ATP1A1-isoforms assume this function in pyramidal cells. This differential expression of sodium pump isoforms may contribute to differences in resting membrane potential of subicular interneurones and pyramidal cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Ouabain / pharmacology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / genetics*
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Ouabain
  • Atp1a2 protein, mouse
  • Atp1a3 protein, mouse
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 2
  • Atp1a1 protein, mouse
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase