ATP-sensitive potassium currents reduce the PGE2-mediated enhancement of excitability in adult rat sensory neurons

Xian Xuan Chi, Xin Jiang, G. D. Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Behavioral studies have shown that the hyperalgesia arising from inflammatory agents, such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), can be antagonized by activators of the ATP-sensitive potassium current (KATP). This observation raises questions as to whether this suppression results from a direct action on sensory neurons and what are the cellular mechanisms giving rise to this inhibition. We found that small to medium diameter sensory neurons isolated from the L4-6 DRGs expressed the mRNAs for Kir6.1, Kir6.2, and SUR1. In perforated-patch clamp recordings from acutely dissociated sensory neurons from the young adult rat, exposure to 300 μM diazoxide, a KATP channel agonist, significantly hyperpolarized the resting membrane potential, reduced the number of action potentials evoked by a ramp of depolarizing current, and increased the amplitude of inward KATP currents evoked by the voltage ramp. Similar results were obtained with the protonophore FCCP, which is known to reduce the levels of intracellular ATP and lead to the activation of KATP. Only a subpopulation of sensory neurons was sensitive to diazoxide whereas other neurons were unaffected. Treatment with 1 μM PGE2 significantly enhanced the excitability of these small to medium diameter capsaicin-sensitive sensory neurons; this enhancement was reversed by subsequent exposure to diazoxide in a subpopulation of neurons. Similar to diazoxide, exposure to 8-Br-cyclic GMP antagonized the PGE2-induced increase in excitability. The effects of 8-Br-cyclic GMP could be reversed by exposure to glibenclamide, an antagonist of KATP channels. As with diazoxide, only a subpopulation of sensory neurons were affected by 8-Br-cyclic GMP. These results demonstrate that activation of KATP can reverse the sensitization produced by PGE2 and may be an important means to modulate the enhanced excitability that results from inflammatory or injury conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-40
Number of pages13
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 11 2007


  • Action potential
  • Cyclic GMP
  • Diazoxide
  • K
  • Sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'ATP-sensitive potassium currents reduce the PGE<sub>2</sub>-mediated enhancement of excitability in adult rat sensory neurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this