Leak K+ channel mRNAs in dorsal root ganglia: Relation to inflammation and spontaneous pain behaviour


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Abstract

Two pore domain potassium (K2P) channels (KCNKx.x) cause K + leak currents and are major contributors to resting membrane potential. Their roles in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons normally, and in pathological pain models, are poorly understood. Therefore, we examined mRNA levels for 10 K2P channels in L4 and L5 rat DRGs normally, and 1 day and 4 days after unilateral cutaneous inflammation, induced by intradermal complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) injections. Spontaneous foot lifting (SFL) duration (spontaneous pain behaviour) was measured in 1 day and 4 day rats < 1 h before DRG harvest. mRNA levels for KCNK channels and Kv1.4 relative to GAPDH (n = 4–6 rats/group) were determined with real-time RT-PCR. This study is the first to demonstrate expression of THIK1, THIK2 and TWIK2 mRNA in DRGs. Abundance in normal DRGs was, in descending order:Kv1.4 > TRESK(KCNK18) > TRAAK(KCNK4) > TREK2(KCNK10) = TWIK2(KCNK6) > TREK1 (KCNK2) = THIK2(KCNK12) > TASK1(KCNK3) > TASK2(KCNK5) > THIK1(KCNK13) = TASK3(KCNK9).During inflammation, the main differences from normal in DRG mRNA levels were bilateral, suggesting systemic regulation, although some channels showed evidence of ipsilateral modulation. By 1 day, bilateral K2P mRNA levels had decreased (THIK1) or increased (TASK1, THIK2) but by 4 days they were consistently decreased (TASK2, TASK3) or tended to decrease (excluding TRAAK). The decreased TASK2 mRNA was mirrored by decreased protein (TASK2-immunoreactivity) at 4 days. Ipsilateral mRNA levels at 4 days compared with 1 day were lower (TRESK, TASK1, TASK3, TASK2 and THIK2) or higher (THIK1). Ipsilateral SFL duration during inflammation was positively correlated with ipsilateral TASK1 and TASK3 mRNAs, and contralateral TASK1, TRESK and TASK2 mRNAs. Thus changes in K2P mRNA levels occurred during inflammation and for 4 K2P channels were associated with spontaneous pain behaviour (SFL). K2P channels and their altered expression are therefore associated with inflammation-induced pain.

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