Antimanic Efficacy of a Novel Kv3 Potassium Channel Modulator

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Jan;43(2):435-444. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.155. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


Kv3.1 and Kv3.2 voltage-gated potassium channels are expressed on parvalbumin-positive GABAergic interneurons in corticolimbic brain regions and contribute to high-frequency neural firing. The channels are also expressed on GABAergic neurons of the basal ganglia, substantia nigra, and ventral tegmental area (VTA) where they regulate firing patterns critical for movement control, reward, and motivation. Modulation of Kv3.1 and Kv3.2 channels may therefore have potential in the treatment of disorders in which these systems have been implicated, such as bipolar disorder. Following the recent development of a potassium channel modulator, AUT1-an imidazolidinedione compound that specifically increases currents mediated by Kv3.1 and Kv3.2 channels in recombinant systems-we report that the compound is able to reverse 'manic-like' behavior in two mouse models: amphetamine-induced hyperactivity and ClockΔ19 mutants. AUT1 completely prevented amphetamine-induced hyperactivity in a dose-dependent manner, similar to the atypical antipsychotic, clozapine. Similar efficacy was observed in Kv3.2 knockout mice. In contrast, AUT1 was unable to prevent amphetamine-induced hyperactivity in mice lacking Kv3.1 channels. Notably, Kv3.1-null mice displayed baseline hyperlocomotion, reduced anxiety-like behavior, and antidepressant-like behavior. In ClockΔ19 mice, AUT1 reversed hyperactivity. Furthermore, AUT1 application modulated firing frequency and action potential properties of ClockΔ19 VTA dopamine neurons potentially through network effects. Kv3.1 protein levels in the VTA of ClockΔ19 and WT mice were unaltered by acute AUT1 treatment. Taken together, these results suggest that the modulation of Kv3.1 channels may provide a novel approach to the treatment of bipolar mania.

MeSH terms

  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / drug therapy*
  • Amphetamine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • CLOCK Proteins* / genetics
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / drug effects*
  • Hydantoins / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Shaw Potassium Channels / deficiency
  • Shaw Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / drug effects*
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / metabolism*


  • AUT1 compound
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Hydantoins
  • Kcnc1 protein, mouse
  • Pyridines
  • Shaw Potassium Channels
  • Amphetamine
  • CLOCK Proteins
  • Clock protein, mouse