The Hodgkin-Huxley model, at its 66th anniversary, remains a footing stone of neuroscience, which describes how the action potential (AP) is generated. As the core player of AP initiation, voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are always considered to be required for electrogenesis in excitable cells. Cells which are not traditionally been considered to be excitable, including glial cells, also express VGSCs in physiological as well as pathological conditions. The dysfunction of glial VGSCs is seemingly not related to abnormal excitation of neurons, but of importance in the astrogliosis and M1 polarization of microglia, which could induce refractory neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Therefore, in this chapter, we aim to describe the physiological and pathological roles of VGSCs contributing to the activity of glial cells and discuss whether VGSC subtypes could be used as a novel drug target, with an eye toward therapeutic implications for neuroinflammatory diseases.
Part of the book: Neuroimaging