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Developmental changes in KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 expression in human brain: Possible contribution to the age-dependent etiology of benign familial neonatal convulsions

      Abstract

      Several mutations of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 are considered to be associated with benign familial neonatal convulsions (BFNC). BFNC is characterized by seizures starting within several days of life and spontaneous remission within weeks to months. KCNQ channel is a heteromeric voltage-dependent potassium channel consisting of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 subunits. To clarify the age-dependent etiology of BFNC, we examined the developmental changes in KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 expression in human hippocampus, temporal lobe, cerebellum and medulla oblongata obtained from 23 subjects who died at 22 gestation weeks to adulthood. Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded specimens were used for immunohistochemistry. Unique developmental changes in KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 were found in each region. A high expression of KCNQ2 was identified in the hippocampus, temporal cortex, cerebellar cortex and medulla oblongata in fetal life, but such expression decreased after birth. The expression of KCNQ3 increased in late fetal life to infancy. Simultaneous and high expressions of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 were observed in each region from late fetal life to early infancy, coinciding with the time when BFNC occurs. Such coexpression may contribute to the pathogenesis of BFNC.

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