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Summary

Background

The Kv1.3 voltage-gated potassium channel is selectively upregulated upon activation in effector memory T (TEM) cells in inflamed tissue, and plays an important role in maintenance of T-cell activation. Although Kv1.3 blockers have been shown to ameliorate allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) in a rat model, it remains unknown whether the effect of Kv1.3 blockers on ACD is mediated by suppressing TEM cell function and/or whether naive T-cells or central memory T (TCM) cells are influenced.

Aim

To analyse the detailed mechanism of Kv1.3 blockers in a rat model of ACD.

Methods

We examined the effects of a Kv1.3 blocker on inflammation and production of the effector cytokine interferon (IFN)-γ in inflamed tissue in rat ACD. Single-cell suspensions were isolated from inflamed rat ears (TEM cells), and regional lymph nodes (naive T/TCM cells), and the effect of Kv1.3 blockers on anti-CD3-stimulated IFN-γ production in vitro was measured.

Results

The Kv1.3 blocker significantly suppressed ear inflammation and IFN-γ production at the protein level in vivo. It also suppressed in vitro IFN-γ production from TEM cells from inflamed tissues, but did not suppress the function of naive T/TCM cells from lymph nodes.

Conclusions

We found that the Kv1.3 blocker ameliorated ACD by inhibiting TEM cell functions only, thus Kv1.3 blockers could be a potentially selective therapeutic agent for TEM cell-mediated inflammatory skin diseases without producing harmful side-effects.