Oxidative stress-related cellular aging causes dysfunction of the Kv3.1/KCNC1 channel reverted by melatonin

Sara Spinelli, Alessia Remigante (Co-author), Raffaella Liuni (Co-author), Gianluca Mantegna (Co-author), Giuseppe Legname (Co-author), Angela Marino (Co-author), Rossana Morabito (Co-author), Silvia Dossena* (Last author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalOriginal Article (Journal)peer-review


The voltage-gated Kv3.1/KCNC1 channel is abundantly expressed in fast-spiking principal neurons and GABAergic inhibitory interneurons throughout the ascending auditory pathway and in various brain regions. Inactivating mutations in the KCNC1 gene lead to forms of epilepsy and a decline in the expression of the Kv3.1 channel is involved in age-related hearing loss. As oxidative stress plays a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of epilepsy and age-related hearing loss, we hypothesized that an oxidative insult might affect the function of this channel. To verify this hypothesis, the activity and expression of endogenous and ectopic Kv3.1 were measured in models of oxidative stress-related aging represented by cell lines exposed to 100 mM d-galactose. In these models, intracellular reactive oxygen species, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, sulfhydryl groups of cellular proteins, and the activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase were dysregulated, while the current density of Kv3.1 was significantly reduced. Importantly, the antioxidant melatonin reverted all these effects. The reduction of function of Kv3.1 was not determined by direct oxidation of amino acid side chains of the protein channel or reduction of transcript or total protein levels but was linked to reduced trafficking to the cell surface associated with Src phosphorylation as well as metabolic and endoplasmic reticulum stress. The data presented here specify Kv3.1 as a novel target of oxidative stress and suggest that Kv3.1 dysfunction might contribute to age-related hearing loss and increased prevalence of epilepsy during aging. The pharmacological use of the antioxidant melatonin can be protective in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e14185
Number of pages16
Early online dateMay 2024
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2024


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