Spreading depolarization (SD) is characterized by a massive redistribution of ions accompanied by an arrest in electrical activity that slowly propagates through neural tissue. It has been implicated in numerous human pathologies, including migraine, stroke, and traumatic brain injury, and thus the elucidation of control mechanisms underlying the phenomenon could have many health benefits. Here, we demonstrate the occurrence of SD in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster, providing a model system, whereby cellular mechanisms can be dissected using molecular genetic approaches. Propagating waves of SD were reliably induced by disrupting the extracellular potassium concentration ([K+]o), either directly or by inhibition of the Na+/K+-ATPase with ouabain. The disturbance was monitored by recording the characteristic surges in [K+]o using K+-sensitive microelectrodes or by monitoring brain activity by measuring direct current potential. With the use of wild-type flies, we show that young adults are more resistant to SD compared with older adults, evidenced by shorter bouts of SD activity and attenuated [K+]o disturbances. Furthermore, we show that the susceptibility to SD differs between wild-type flies and w1118 mutants, demonstrating that our ouabain model is influenced by genetic strain. Lastly, flies with low levels of protein kinase G (PKG) had increased latencies to onset of both ouabain-induced SD and anoxic depolarization compared with flies with higher levels. Our findings implicate the PKG pathway as a modulator of SD in the fly brain, and given the conserved nature of the signaling pathway, it could likely play a similar role during SD in the mammalian central nervous system.
- anoxic depolarization
- extracellular potassium
- spreading depolarization
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
Please sign in below with your personal user name and password.