Nencki Institute Seminar

Dear all

This Thursday, 18th of February 2021, at 3pm, Rafał Kampa, PhD student (Laboratory of Intracellular Ion Channels, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, PAS; Department of Physics and Biophysics, Institute of Biology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW) supervised by dr hab. Piotr Bednarczyk from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, will give a lecture entitled: Cardioprotective flavonoids: new regulators of mitochondrial potassium channels?


Cardiovascular diseases are still the most common cause of death in the world. Incorrect lifestyle and unhealthy diet often lead to myocardial infarction, as well as affect other organs, including the nervous system. Recently, more attention has been paid to the role of mitochondrial channels in protecting cells against the effects of hypoxia or oxidative stress. It has been shown that activation of the potassium channels present in the inner mitochondrial membrane can prevent or significantly reduce the effects of ischemia. It was confirmed that activation of these channels triggers cytoprotective pathways in the cell. Therefore, the aim of the project was to search a new mitochondrial large-conductance calcium-regulated potassium channel (mitoBKCa) activators of natural origin - cardioprotective flavonoids. Due to their high bioavailability and low toxicity, and many other positive properties, they are a very promising therapeutic tools. On the basis of previous studies and a review of the literature, several flavonoids were selected that are the target of our research: naringenin and its derivatives, luteolin, quercetin and cyanidin.

So far, the influence of flavonoids on the activity of mitochondrial potassium channels has been studied only indirectly with the use of known inhibitors of potassium channels. The project focuses on direct interactions of flavonoids with mitochondrial potassium channels, which is possible thanks to the patch-clamp technique. Their physiological role can be observed in migration tests, cytotoxicity tests and protection assays assessing apoptosis/necrosis. The direct mitochondriotropic effect may be determine through the influence on the potential of the mitochondrial membrane or the expression of genes and protein subunits of the mitoBKCa channel. Due to the significant role of mitochondrial potassium channels in cytoprotection, they seem to be an excellent target for many substances. The use of flavonoids for this is justified by the beneficial properties of these compounds.

This study was supported by grants 2016/21/B/NZ1/02769 and 2020/36/T/NZ1/00116 from the National Science Center of Poland.

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Best regards,
Aleksandra Pękowska

Date of publication
12 February 2021
Date of event