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Blockade of Kv1.3 potassium channel inhibits CD8+ T cell-mediated neuroinflammation via PD-1/Blimp-1 signaling

Zhao, Y;Qiu, W;Liu, J;Yuan, X;Mao, W;Yin, J;Peng, B;Liu, W;Han, S;He, X;

Kv1.3 potassium channel is considered as a target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), since Kv1.3 blockade suppresses memory T cell activation including cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. However, the underlying signaling pathway related to autoimmune CD8+ T cell inhibition by Kv1.3 channel in neuroinflammatory diseases remains unclear. We found that ImK, a selective Kv1.3 blocker, reduced auto-reactive CD8+ T cell infiltration in the spinal cords of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) rats, an animal model of MS. ImK suppressed transcriptional factor Blimp-1 expression and reduced the cytotoxicity of CD8+ T cells on neuronal cells. Furthermore, ImK upregulated co-inhibitory molecule PD-1 to inhibit B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein (Blimp-1) in an IL-2 independent way. In addition, PD-1 inhibitor impaired the suppression of ImK on CD8+ T cells and accelerated EAE progression. Our study demonstrated a novel regulatory mechanism of Kv1.3 blockade on modulating CD8+ T cell differentiation through PD-1/Blimp-1 signaling. This work expands the understanding of Kv1.3 channel for modulating neuroinflammation.