Increased seizure duration and slowed potassium kinetics in mice lacking aquaporin-4 water channels



The glial water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4) has been hypothesized to modulate water and potassium fluxes associated with neuronal activity. In this study, we examined the seizure phenotype of AQP4 −/− mice using in vivo electrical stimulation and electroencephalographic (EEG) recording. AQP4 −/− mice were found to have dramatically prolonged stimulation-evoked seizures after hippocampal stimulation compared to wild-type controls (33 ± 2 s vs. 13 ± 2 s). In addition, AQP4 −/− mice were found to have a higher seizure threshold (167 ± 17 μA vs. 114 ± 10 μA). To assess a potential effect of AQP4 on potassium kinetics, we used in vivo recording with potassium-sensitive microelectrodes after direct cortical stimulation. Although there was no significant difference in baseline or peak [K+]o, the rise time to peak [K+]o (t1/2, 2.3 ± 0.5 s) as well as the recovery to baseline [K+]o (t1/2, 15.6 ± 1.5 s) were slowed in AQP4 −/− mice compared to WT mice (t1/2, 0.5 ± 0.1 and 6.6 ± 0.7 s, respectively). These results implicate AQP4 in the expression and termination of seizure activity and support the hypothesis that AQP4 is coupled to potassium homeostasis in vivo. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.