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α-dendrotoxin sensitive Kv1 channels contribute to conduction failure of polymodal nociceptive C-fibers from rat coccygeal nerve.

Xiu-Chao Wang, Shan Wang, Ming Zhang, Fang Gao, Chun Yin, Hao Li, Ying Zhang, Sanjue Hu, Jian-Hong Duan

J. Neurophysiol., 2015 Nov 25 , , jn.00786.2014

It is known that some patients with diabetic neuropathy are usually accompanied by abnormal painful sensations. Evidence has accumulated that diabetic neuropathic pain is associated with the hyperexcitability of peripheral nociceptors. Previously, we demonstrated that reduced conduction failure of polymodal nociceptive C-fibers and enhanced voltage-dependent sodium currents of small dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons contribute to diabetic hyperalgesia. To further investigate whether and how potassium channels are involved in the conduction failure, α-dendrotoxin (α-DTX), a selective blocker of the low-threshold sustained Kv1 channel was chosen to examine its functional capability in modulating the conduction properties of polymodal nociceptive C-fibers and the excitability of sensory neurons. We found that α-DTX reduced the conduction failure of C-fibers from coccygeal nerve in vivo accompanied by an increased initial conduction velocity but a decreased activity-dependent slowing of conduction velocity. In addition, the number of APs evoked by step currents was significantly enhanced after the treatment with α-DTX in small-diameter sensory neurons. Further study of the mechanism indicate α-DTX-sensitive K+ current significantly reduced and the activation of this current in peak and steady state shifted to depolarization for diabetic neurons. Expression of Kv channel subunits Kv1.2 and Kv1.6 were down-regulated in both small dorsal root ganglion neurons and peripheral C-fibers. Taken together, these results suggest that α-DTX-sensitive Kv1 channels might play an important role in regulating the conduction properties of polymodal nociceptive C-fibers and firing properties of sensory neurons.