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Researchers identify innate channel that protects against pain
Date:1/21/2014

otassium channels. Importantly, the C-nociceptors that express TREK2 have much more negative membrane potentials than those that do not.

Researchers showed that when TREK2 was removed from the proximity of the cell membrane, the potential in those neurons became less negative. In addition, when the neuron was prevented from synthesizing the TREK2, the membrane potential also became less negative.

They also found that spontaneous pain associated with skin inflammation, was increased by reducing the levels of synthesis of TREK2 in these C-fiber neurons.

They concluded that in these C-fiber nociceptors the TREK2 keeps membrane potentials more negative, stabilizing their membrane potential, reducing firing and thus limiting the amount of spontaneous burning pain.

Professor Sally Lawson, from the School of Physiology and Pharmacology at Bristol University, explained: "It became evident that TREK2 kept the C-fiber nociceptor membrane at a more negative potential. Despite the difficulties inherent in the study of spontaneous pain, and the lack of any drugs that can selectively block or activate TREK2, we demonstrated that TREK2 in C-fiber nociceptors is important for stabilizing their membrane potential and decreasing the likelihood of firing. It became apparent that TREK2 was thus likely to act as a natural innate protection against pain. Our data supported this, indicating that in chronic pain states, TREK2 is acting as a brake on the level of spontaneous pain."

Dr Cristian Acosta, the first author on the paper and now working at the Institute of Histology and Embriology of Mendoza in Argentina, said "Given the role of TREK2 in protecting against spontaneous pain, it is important to advance our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms controlling its expression and trafficking in these C-fiber nociceptors. We hope that this research will enable development of methods of enhancing the actions of TREK2 that could potent
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Contact: Philippa Walker
philippa.walker@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8086
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

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