Small (SK) and intermediate (IK) conductance calcium-activated potassium channels are candidate ion channels for the regulation of excitability in nociceptive neurones. We have used unique peptide-directed antisera to describe the immunocytochemical distribution of the known isoforms of these ion channels in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and spinal cord of the rat. These investigations sought to characterize further the phenotype and hence possible functions of nociceptive neurone subpopulations in the rat. In addition, using Western blotting, we sought to determine the level of protein expression of SK and IK channels in sensory nervous tissues following induction of inflammation (Freund's Complete Adjuvant (FCA) arthritis model) or nerve injury (chronic constriction injury model). We show that SK1, SK2, SK3 and IK1 are all expressed in DRG and spinal cord. Morphometric analysis revealed that SK1, SK2 and IK1 were preferentially localized to neurones having cell bodies <1000 μm 2 (putative nociceptors) in DRG. Dual labeling immunocytochemistry showed that these ion channels co-localize with both CGRP and IB4, known markers of nociceptor sub-populations. SK2 was localized almost exclusively in the superficial laminae of the spinal cord dorsal horn, the region in which many sensory afferents terminate; the distribution of SK1 and IK1 was more widespread in spinal cord, although some preferential labeling within the dorsal horn was observed in the case of IK1. Here we show evidence for a distinctive pattern of expression for certain members of the calcium-activated potassium channel family in the rat DRG.
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Feb 2005|
- spinal cord
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