Kv7.2-Kv7.5 channels mediate the M-current (IKM), a K+-selective current regulating neuronal excitability and representing an attractive target for pharmacological therapy against hyperexcitability diseases such as pain. Kv7 channels interact functionally with transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channels activated by endogenous and/or exogenous pain-inducing substances, such as bradykinin (BK) or capsaicin (CAP), respectively; however, whether Kv7 channels of specific molecular composition provide a dominant contribution in BK- or CAP-evoked responses is yet unknown. To this aim, Kv7 transcripts expression and function were assessed in F11 immortalized sensorial neurons, a cellular model widely used to assess nociceptive molecular mechanisms. In these cells, the effects of the pan-Kv7 activator retigabine were investigated, as well as the effects of ICA-27243 and (S)-1, two Kv7 activators acting preferentially on Kv7.2/Kv7.3 and Kv7.4/Kv7.5 channels, respectively, on BK- and CAP-induced changes in intracellular Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]i). The results obtained revealed the expression of transcripts of all Kv7 genes, leading to an IKM-like current. Moreover, all tested Kv7 openers inhibited BK- and CAP-induced responses by a similar extent (~60%); at least for BK-induced Ca2+ responses, the potency of retigabine (IC50~1 µM) was higher than that of ICA-27243 (IC50~5 µM) and (S)-1 (IC50~7 µM). Altogether, these results suggest that IKM activation effectively counteracts the cellular processes triggered by TRPV1-mediated pain-inducing stimuli, and highlight a possible critical contribution of Kv7.4 subunits.
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