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Journal of Signal TransductionVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 619747, 11 pages

Review Article

Department of Information Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Myodaiji, Okazaki 444-8787, Japan

School of Life Sciences, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Myodaiji, Okazaki 444-8787, Japan

Received 20 April 2012; Accepted 19 June 2012

Academic Editor: Junichi Nakai

Copyright © 2012 Daisuke Kase and Keiji Imoto. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hyperpolarization-activated and cyclic nucleotide-gated HCN channels were first reported in heart cells and are recently known to be involved in a variety of neural functions in healthy and diseased brains. HCN channels generate inward currents when the membrane potential is hyperpolarized. Voltage dependence of HCN channels is regulated by intracellular signaling cascades, which contain cyclic AMP, PIP2, and TRIP8b. In addition, voltage-gated potassium channels have a strong influence on HCN channel activity. Because of these funny features, HCN channel currents, previously called funny currents, can have a wide range of functions that are determined by a delicate balance of modulatory factors. These multifaceted features also make it difficult to predict and elucidate the functional role of HCN channels in actual neurons. In this paper, we focus on the impacts of HCN channels on neural activity. The functions of HCN channels reported previously will be summarized, and their mechanisms will be explained by using numerical simulation of simplified model neurons.

Autor: Daisuke Kase and Keiji Imoto



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