KCa channels as therapeutic targets in episodic ataxia type-2

Karina Alviña, Kamran Khodakhah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Episodic ataxia type-2 (EA2) is an inherited movement disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding the Cav2.1α1 subunit of the P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium channel that result in an overall reduction in the P/Q-type calcium current. A consequence of these mutations is loss of precision of pacemaking in cerebellar Purkinje cells. This diminished precision reduces the information encoded by Purkinje cells and is thought to contribute to symptoms associated with this disorder. The loss of the precision of pacemaking in EA2 is the consequence of reduced activation of calcium-dependent potassium channels (KCa) by the smaller calcium current and in vitro can be pharmacologically restored by KCa activators. We used a well established mouse model of EA2, the tottering (tg/tg) mouse, to examine the potential therapeutic utility of one such Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved compound, chlorzoxazone (CHZ). Compared with wild-type Purkinje cells, we found the firing rate of tg/tg Purkinje cells in acutely prepared cerebellar slices to be very irregular. Bath application of CHZ successfully restored the precision of pacemaking in a dose-dependent manner. Oral administration of CHZ to tg/tg mice improved their baseline motor performance and reduced the severity, frequency, and duration of episodes of dyskinesia without producing any adverse effects. We propose the use of CHZ, which is currently FDA approved as a muscle relaxant, as a safe and novel treatment of EA2. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7249-7257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 26 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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