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Neuropharmacology. 2001 Oct;41(5):601-8.

PKC regulates capsaicin-induced currents of dorsal root ganglion neurons in rats.

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  • 1Shanghai Institute of Physiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 200031, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.


Capsaicin activates a non-specific cation conductance in a subset of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. The inward current and membrane potential of acutely isolated DRG neurons were examined using whole-cell patch recording methods. We report here that the current and voltage responses activated by capsaicin were markedly increased by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), an activator of protein kinase C (PKC). The mean current, after application of 0.3 microM PMA, was 153.5+/-5.7% of control (n=32) in Ca(2+)-free external solution and 181.6+/-6.8% of control (n=15) in standard external solution. Under current-clamp conditions, 0.3 microM PMA facilitated capsaicin-induced depolarization and action potential generation. Bindolylmaleimide I (BIM), a specific inhibitor of PKC activity, abolished the effect of PMA. In addition, capsaicin-evoked current was attenuated to 68.3+/-5.0% of control (n=13) by individual administration of 1 microM BIM in standard external solution, while 0.3 microM BIM did not have this effect. These data suggest that PKC can directly regulate the capsaicin response in DRG neurons, which could increase nociceptive sensory transmission and contribute to hyperalgesia.

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