Inhibition of astrocyte TNFα expression by extracellular potassium

Hee Yoon Chang, Liwei L. Hua, Anna Morgan, Sunhee C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


TNFα and IL-6 are cytokines of great interest, given the numerous biological activities and the documented expression in several central nervous system (CNS) pathologies. In this report, we have examined cultures of IL-1- or IL-1/IFNγ-activated human fetal astrocytes as a model to study mechanisms of cytokine regulation in the inflamed CNS. Since one of the major functions of astrocytes is spatial buffering of K+ ions, we examined the effect of high extracellular KCl on astrocyte cytokine expression by ribonuclease protection assay and ELISA. Results demonstrate that astrocyte TNFα production was potently inhibited by K+ with 44 and 89% inhibition at 25 and 55 mM K+, respectively. In contrast, astrocyte IL-6 inhibition required higher concentrations of K+ (≥75 mM). These results demonstrate a novel role for astrocyte potassium channel activity in modulation of glial cytokine production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-179
Number of pages4
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain
  • Cytokine
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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