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Neuroscience. 1996 Dec;75(4):1211-8.

Bradykinin receptors in cultured rat dorsal root ganglion cells: influence of length of time in culture.

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  • 1Physiologisches Institut, Universit├Ąt W├╝rzburg, Germany.


The endogenous nonapeptide bradykinin is a powerful substance which activates nociceptors, resulting in the sensation of pain in man. We used a newly developed non-radioactive method to detect bradykinin binding sites in isolated dorsal root ganglion cells with gold-labelled bradykinin. In a subpopulation of cells, gold-labelled bradykinin was bound in different quantities. The proportion of somata with bradykinin binding markedly depended on the length of time in culture. After 0.75 days, bradykinin was bound to 43% of somata. This proportion increased to 85% after 1.75 days and then decreased to 27% after 5.75 days. Bradykinin was bound to cells of all sizes, ranging from 40 to 2000 microns2 with a maximum of 200-300 microns2. In some cells, binding was also seen along the processes. No correlation was found between the soma size and the density of bradykinin binding. Blocking the bradykinin binding at the B1 receptor with (Des-Arg10)-Lys-bradykinin and at the B2 receptor with D-Arg(Hyp3-Thi5.8-D-Phe7)-bradykinin, respectively, revealed that in 0.75-day-old cultures no or only a very small amount of B1 receptors are present. In 1.75-day-old cultures, the marked increase in the proportion of cells with positive bradykinin binding is due to a de novo expression of the B1 receptor subtype and an up-regulation of the B2 receptor subtype. The selective or combined addition of specific B1 and B2 receptor ligands revealed that both receptor subtypes are co-localized. These data show that cultured sensory neurons express not only B2, but during a short period of time in culture also B1 receptors. The data allow us to hypothesize that a transient increase in bradykinin receptor expression might be caused by cell injury due to disruption of the axon. The injury-induced up-regulation of the receptor in vivo could cause physiological reactions.

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