The acute nociceptive signals induced by bradykinin in rat sensory neurons are mediated by inhibition of M-type K+ channels and activation of Ca2+-activated Cl- channels

J Clin Invest. 2010 Apr;120(4):1240-52. doi: 10.1172/JCI41084. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


Bradykinin (BK) is an inflammatory mediator and one of the most potent endogenous pain-inducing substances. When released at sites of tissue damage or inflammation, or applied exogenously, BK produces acute spontaneous pain and causes hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to potentially painful stimuli). The mechanisms underlying spontaneous pain induced by BK are poorly understood. Here we report that in small nociceptive neurons from rat dorsal root ganglia, BK, acting through its B2 receptors, PLC, and release of calcium from intracellular stores, robustly inhibits M-type K+ channels and opens Ca2+-activated Cl- channels (CaCCs) encoded by Tmem16a (also known as Ano1). Summation of these two effects accounted for the depolarization and increase in AP firing induced by BK in DRG neurons. Local injection of inhibitors of CaCC and specific M-channel openers both strongly attenuated the nociceptive effect of local injections of BK in rats. These results provide a framework for understanding spontaneous inflammatory pain and may suggest new drug targets for treatment of such pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bradykinin / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Chloride Channels / drug effects*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / drug effects
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Pain / chemically induced*
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, Bradykinin B2 / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Chloride Channels
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Receptor, Bradykinin B2
  • Bradykinin
  • Calcium