Hv channels (voltage-gated proton channels) are expressed in blood cells, microglia and some types of epithelial cells. In neutrophils Hv channels regulate the production of reactive oxygen species through regulation of membrane potential and intracellular pH. Hv channels have also been suggested to play a role in sperm physiology in the human. However, the functions of the Hv channel at the whole-body level are not fully understood. In the present paper we show that Hvcn1 (voltage-gated hydrogen channel 1)-knockout mice show splenomegaly, autoantibodies and nephritis, that are reminiscent of human autoimmune diseases phenotypes. The number of activated T-cells was larger in Hvcn1-deficient mice than in the wild-type mice. Upon viral infection this was remarkably enhanced in Hvcn1-deficient mice. The production of superoxide anion in T-cells upon stimulation with PMA was significantly attenuated in the Hvcn1-deficient mice. These results suggest that Hv channels regulate T-cell homoeostasis in vivo.

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