A novel role of cardiac inwardly rectifying potassium channels explaining autonomic cardiovascular dysfunctions in a cuprizone-induced mouse model of multiple sclerosis.Auton Neurosci. 2020 Feb 13; 225:102647.AN
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS), believed to have an autoimmune etiology. MS patients showed an increased cardiovascular (CV) risk probably related to an impairment in the autonomic control of CV functions, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not completely elucidated. Inwardly-rectifying potassium (Kir) channels play a key role in cardiac excitability by contributing to the repolarization phase of action potential and were recently identified as target of the autoantibody response in MS patients. Therefore, we investigated the role of cardiac Kir channels in the CV dysfunctions occurring in MS. Cardiac functions were evaluated by electrocardiographic recordings (ECG) in cuprizone-fed C57BL/6 mice, a classic demyelination animal model. Gene expression profiling of cardiac Kir2.2, Kir4.1 and Kir6.2 channels was performed using real-time PCR in mice. Cuprizone-induced mouse model was confirmed by immunohistochemistry analysis showing demyelination in the corpus callosum. ECG recordings from mice showed a significant decreased duration of the P wave and RR interval as well as an increase of the heart rate in cuprizone-treated mice as compared with the controls. Significant increased relative expression levels of Kcnj11 and Kcnj12, encoding for Kir6.2 and Kir2.2 channels respectively, were observed in mouse heart tissue, whereas no differences were found in mRNA levels of Kir4.1 channel as compared with controls. For the first time, these findings provided valuable insights into the potential role of Kir channels in cardiac problems associated with MS.