The choroid plexus (CP) epithelium secretes cerebrospinal fluid and plays an important role in healthy homeostasis of the brain. CP function can be influenced by sex steroid hormones; however, the precise molecular mechanism of such regulation is not well understood. Here, using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from male and female murine CP cells, we show that application of progesterone resulted in specific and strong potentiation of the inwardly rectifying potassium channel Kir7.1, an essential protein that is expressed in CP and is required for survival. The potentiation was progesterone specific and independent of other known progesterone receptors expressed in CP. This effect was recapitulated with recombinant Kir7.1, as well as with endogenous Kir7.1 expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium. Current-clamp studies further showed a progesterone-induced hyperpolarization of CP cells. Our results provide evidence of a progesterone-driven control of tissues in which Kir7.1 is present.

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