The Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC1 is widely expressed in cells within and outside the brain. However, our understanding of its roles in brain functions throughout development, as well as in neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders, has been severely hindered by the lack of reliable data on its developmental and (sub)cellular expression patterns. We provide here the first properly controlled analysis of NKCC1 protein expression in various cell types of the mouse brain using custom-made antibodies and an NKCC1 knock-out validated immunohistochemical procedure, with parallel data based on advanced mRNA approaches. NKCC1 protein and mRNA are expressed at remarkably high levels in oligodendrocytes. In immature neurons, NKCC1 protein was located in the somata, whereas in adult neurons, only NKCC1 mRNA could be clearly detected. NKCC1 immunoreactivity is also seen in microglia, astrocytes, developing pericytes, and in progenitor cells of the dentate gyrus. Finally, a differential expression of NKCC1 splice variants was observed, with NKCC1a predominating in non-neuronal cells and NKCC1b in neurons. Taken together, our data provide a cellular basis for understanding NKCC1 functions in the brain and enable the identification of major limitations and promises in the development of neuron-targeting NKCC1-blockers.

TidskriftCerebral Cortex
Sidor (från-till)5906-5923
Antal sidor18
StatusPublicerad - 9 maj 2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 1182 Biokemi, cell- och molekylärbiologi
  • 3112 Neurovetenskaper

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