Altered expression of a two-pore domain (K2P) mechano-gated potassium channel TREK-1 in Hirschsprung's disease

Christian Tomuschat, Anne Marie O'Donnell, David Coyle, Nickolas Dreher, Danielle Kelly, Prem Puri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The pathophysiology of Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR) is not fully understood. A significant proportion of patients have persisting bowel symptoms such as constipation, soiling, and enterocolitis despite correctly performed operations. Animal data suggest that stretch-activated 2-pore domain K + channels play a critical role in the maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity. Methods: We investigated TREK-1 protein expression in ganglionic and aganglionic regions of HSCR patients (n = 10) vs. normal control colon (n = 10). Protein distribution was assessed by using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. Gene and protein expression were quantified using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, western blot analysis, and densitometry. Results: Confocal microscopy of the normal colon revealed strong TREK-1 channel expression in the epithelium. TREK-1-positive cells were decreased in aganglionic and ganglionic bowel compared to controls. TREK-1 gene expression levels were significantly decreased in aganglionic and ganglionic bowel compared to controls (P < 0.05). Western blotting revealed decreased TREK-1 protein expression in aganglionic and ganglionic bowel compared to controls. Conclusion: We demonstrate, for the first time, the expression and distribution of TREK-1 channels in the human colon. The decreased TREK-1 expression in the aganglionic and ganglionic bowel observed in HSCR may alter intestinal epithelial barrier function leading to the development of enterocolitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-733
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

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