Channel density is a fundamental factor in determining neuronal firing and is primarily regulated during development through transcriptional and translational regulation. In adult rats, striatal cholinergic interneurons have a prominent A-type current and co-express Kv4.1 and Kv4.2 mRNAs. There is evidence that Kv4.2 plays a primary role in producing the current in adult neurons. The contribution of Kv4.2 and Kv4.1 to the A-type current in cholinergic interneurons during development, however, is not known. Here, using patch-clamp recording and semiquantitative single-cell reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) techniques, we have examined the postnatal development of A-type current and the expression of Kv4.2 and Kv4.1 in rat striatal cholinergic interneurons. A-type current was detectable at birth, and its amplitude was up-regulated with age, reaching a plateau at about 3 wk after birth. At all ages, the current inactivated with two time constants: one ranging from 15 to 27 ms and the other ranging from 99 to 142 ms. Kv4.2 mRNA was detectable at birth, and the expression level increased exponentially with age, reaching a plateau by 3 wk postnatal. In contrast, Kv4.1 mRNA was not detectable during the first week after birth, and the expression level did not show a clear tendency with age. Taken together, our results suggest that Kv4.2 plays an essential role in producing the A-type current in striatal cholinergic interneurons during the entire course of postnatal development.
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