HCN channels expressed in the inner ear are necessary for normal balance function

Geoffrey C. Horwitz, Jessica R. Risner-Janiczek, Sherri M Jones, Jeffrey R. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

HCN1-4 subunits form N a+/K +-permeable ion channels that are activated by hyperpolarization and carry the current known as I h. I h has been characterized in vestibular hair cells of the inner ear, but its molecular correlates and functional contributions have not been elucidated.Weexamined HcnmRNAexpression and immunolocalization ofHCNprotein in the mouse utricle, a mechanosensitive organ that contributes to the sense of balance.Wefound thatHCN1is the most highly expressed subunit, localized to the basolateral membranes of type I and type II hair cells. We characterized I h using the whole-cell, voltage-clamp technique and found the current expressed in 84% of the cells with a mean maximum conductance of 4.4 nS. I h was inhibited by ZD7288, cilobradine, and by adenoviral expression of a dominant-negative form of HCN2. To determine whichHCNsubunits carried I h,we examined hair cells from mice deficient in Hcn1, 2, or both. Ih was completely abolished in hair cells of Hcn1 -/-mice and Hcn1/2 -/-mice but was similar to wild-type in Hcn2 -/-mice. To examine the functional contributions of I h, we recorded hair cell membrane responses to small hyperpolarizing current steps and found that activation of Ih evoked a 5-10 mV sag depolarization and a subsequent 15-20 mV rebound upon termination. The sag and rebound were nearly abolished in Hcn1-deficient hair cells. We also found that Hcn1-deficient mice had deficits in vestibular-evoked potentials and balance assays. We conclude that HCN1 contributes to vestibular hair cell function and the sense of balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16814-16825
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume31
Issue number46
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 16 2011

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Inner Ear
Vestibular Hair Cells
Saccule and Utricle
Patch-Clamp Techniques
Ion Channels
Evoked Potentials
Cell Membrane
Membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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HCN channels expressed in the inner ear are necessary for normal balance function. / Horwitz, Geoffrey C.; Risner-Janiczek, Jessica R.; Jones, Sherri M; Holt, Jeffrey R.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 31, No. 46, 16.11.2011, p. 16814-16825.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Horwitz, Geoffrey C. ; Risner-Janiczek, Jessica R. ; Jones, Sherri M ; Holt, Jeffrey R. / HCN channels expressed in the inner ear are necessary for normal balance function. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 ; Vol. 31, No. 46. pp. 16814-16825.
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