Modulation of Glutamate Transporter EAAT1 and Inward-Rectifier Potassium Channel Kir4.1 Expression in Cultured Spinal Cord Astrocytes by Platinum-Based Chemotherapeutics

Platinum-based chemotherapeutics still play an essential role in cancer treatment. Despite their high effectiveness, severe side effects such as chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIPN) occur frequently. The pathophysiology of CIPN by platinum-based chemotherapeutics is not fully understood yet, but primarily the disturbance of dorsal root ganglion cells is discussed. However, there is increasing evidence of central nervous system involvement with activation of spinal cord astrocytes after treatment with chemotherapeutics. We investigated the influence of cis- or oxaliplatin on the functionality of cultured rat spinal cord astrocytes by using immunocytochemistry and patch-clamp electrophysiology. Cis- or oxaliplatin activated spinal astrocytes and led to downregulation of the excitatory amino acid transporter 1 (EAAT1) expression. Furthermore, the expression and function of potassium channel Kir4.1 were modulated. Pre-exposure to a specific Kir4.1 blocker in control astrocytes led to a reduced immune reactivity (IR) of EAAT1 and a nearly complete block of the current density. When spinal astrocytes were pre-exposed to antibiotic minocycline, all effects of cis- or oxaliplatin were abolished. Taken together, the modulation of Kir4.1 and EAAT1 proteins in astrocytes could be linked to the direct impact of cis- or oxaliplatin, identifying spinal astrocytes as a potential target in the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.


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