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Current Neuropharmacology


ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Potassium Channels in Peripheral Pain Pathways: Expression, Function and Therapeutic Potential

Author(s): Xiaona Du and Nikita Gamper

Volume 11, Issue 6, 2013

Page: [621 - 640] Pages: 20

DOI: 10.2174/1570159X113119990042

Price: $65


Electrical excitation of peripheral somatosensory nerves is a first step in generation of most pain signals in mammalian nervous system. Such excitation is controlled by an intricate set of ion channels that are coordinated to produce a degree of excitation that is proportional to the strength of the external stimulation. However, in many disease states this coordination is disrupted resulting in deregulated peripheral excitability which, in turn, may underpin pathological pain states (i.e. migraine, neuralgia, neuropathic and inflammatory pains). One of the major groups of ion channels that are essential for controlling neuronal excitability is potassium channel family and, hereby, the focus of this review is on the K+ channels in peripheral pain pathways. The aim of the review is threefold. First, we will discuss current evidence for the expression and functional role of various K+ channels in peripheral nociceptive fibres. Second, we will consider a hypothesis suggesting that reduced functional activity of K+ channels within peripheral nociceptive pathways is a general feature of many types of pain. Third, we will evaluate the perspectives of pharmacological enhancement of K+ channels in nociceptive pathways as a strategy for new analgesic drug design.

Keywords: K+ channel/ M channel/ two-pore K+ channel/ KATP channel/ Dorsal root ganglion/ Pain/ Nociception

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