This study examined the effect of H2O2 on the delayed rectifier potassium current (IKDR) in isolated hippocampal neurons. Whole-cell voltage-clamp experiments were performed on freshly dissociated hippocampal CA1 neurons of SD rats before and after treatment with H2O2. To reveal the mechanism behind H2O2-induced changes in IKDR, cells were treated with different oxidizing and reducing agents. External application of membrane permeable H2O2 reduced the amplitude and voltage-dependence of IKDR in a concentration dependent manner. Desferoxamine (DFO), an iron-chelator that prevents hydroxyl radical (OH) generation, prevented H2O2-induced reduction in IKDR. Application of the sulfhydryl-oxidizing agent 5,5 dithio-bis-nitrobenzoic acid (DTNB) mimicked the effect of H2O2. Sulfhydryl-reducing agents dithiothreitol (DTT) and glutathione (GSH) alone did not affect IKDR; however, DTT and GSH reversed and prevented the H2O2-induced inhibition of IKDR, respectively. Membrane impermeable agents GSH and DTNB showed effects only when added intracellularly identifying intracellular sulfhydryl groups as potential targets for hydroxyl-mediated oxidation. However, the inhibitory effects of DTNB and H2O2 at the positive test potentials were completely and partially abolished by DTT, respectively, suggesting an additional mechanism of action for H2O2, that is not shared by DTNB. In summary, this study provides evidence for the redox modulation of IKDR, identifies hydroxyl radical as an intermediate oxidant responsible for the H2O2-induced decrease in current amplitude and identifies intracellular sulfhydryl groups as an oxidative target.
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