Pharmacological manipulation of M-type (KCNQ, Kv7) potassium currents as a therapeutic target for treatment of addiction

Tech ID:
HSC-1613

Members of KCNQ2-5 (Kv7.2-7.5) K+ channel subunits underlie the neuronal M-type K+ current, a critical regulator of neuronal excitability, including resting membrane potential, threshold excitability and spike bursting.  Inhibition of M-type channels is excitatory, whereas their augmentation usually has an inhibitory, silencing effect. M current has been described in VTA neurons, where they powerfully control bursting behavior, suggesting control over release of dopamine at nerve terminals, including that induced by psychostimulants. Given these facts, manipulation of M current in the VTA must significantly impact the dopaminergic reward system that is hijacked by psychostimulants. Hence, it could serve as a therapeutic tool for drug addiction.

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Daniel Rafferty
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raffertyde@uthscsa.edu
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Inventors:
Fabio Antonio Borges Vigil
Mark Shapiro
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