Potassium Ion Channels in Articular Chondrocytes

Putative Roles in Mechanotransduction, Metabolic Regulation and Cell Proliferation
  • Ali Mobasheri
  • Caroline Dart
  • Richard Barrett-Jolley
Part of the Mechanosensitivity in Cells and Tissues book series (MECT, volume 1)


Potassium ion channels belong to a large superfamily of integral membrane proteins that selectively transport K+ across the plasma membrane. They are present in almost all mammalian cells and play a wide variety of physiological roles in both excitable and non-excitable cells. Despite sharing similar architectural and structural designs, the phenotypic diversity required to accomplish their diverse functional roles is created by subtle differences in conductance, time-course, mechanisms of gating and the interaction with a variety of ligands and accessory proteins. For example, the activities of members of the potassium channel superfamily are associated with the control of neuronal excitability, neurotransmitter release, cardiac and smooth muscle contraction, heart rate, endocrine secretion, epithelial electrolyte transport, cell proliferation, apoptosis and tumour progression. A number of different potassium channels have been identified in articular chondrocytes. Ongoing studies are aimed at deciphering the putative functions of potassium channels in these cells and determining the consequences of their pharmacological activation and inactivation on the unique chondrocyte phenotype. The behaviour of chondrocytes has been shown to be influenced by modulation of ion channel activity. In this review we will focus on recent experimental studies on the roles of potassium ion channels in chondrocytes within articular cartilage and discuss research which has implicated these proteins in metabolic regulation, mechanotransduction, cell volume regulation and cell proliferation. A better understanding of ion channel function may help elucidate the intricate processes involved in mechanotransduction, metabolic regulation and proliferation in chondrocytes.


Cartilage Chondrocyte Potassium channel Membrane potential Stretch-activation Mechanotransduction Metabolic regulation Cell proliferation Osteoarthritis 


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© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Mobasheri
  • Caroline Dart
  • Richard Barrett-Jolley

There are no affiliations available

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