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Potassium channel Kv7.2 (KCNQ2); KCNQ3

Mouse and cell culture studies suggest improving the activity of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 could help prevent tinnitus. In mice, decreased Kcnq2 and Kcnq3 activity was associated with the development of tinnitus-associated hyperactivity in the dorsal cochlear nucleus of the brain. In mice, pretreatment with the nonspecific potassium channel activator Potiga retigabine decreased development of noise exposure-induced tinnitus compared with saline pretreatment. Next steps include developing subtype-selective KCNQ agonists and determining the window for when targeting KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 would be effective in preventing tinnitus.
Meda AB, GlaxoSmithKline plc and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. market Potiga, a potassium channel opener and potentiator of g-aminobutyric acid (GABA), to treat seizures. The drug also is in Phase II testing to treat pain.

SciBX 6(25); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.634
Published online June 27, 2013

Unpatented; available for partnering

Li, S. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online May 28, 2013;
Contact: Thanos Tzounopoulos, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pa.