Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Med. 2003 Aug;9(8):1055-61. Epub 2003 Jun 29.

Endothelin-B receptor activation triggers an endogenous analgesic cascade at sites of peripheral injury.

Author information

Molecular Neurobiology of Pain Laboratory, Pain Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115 USA.


Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a newly described pain mediator that is involved in the pathogenesis of pain states ranging from trauma to cancer. ET-1 is synthesized by keratinocytes in normal skin and is locally released after cutaneous injury. While it is able to trigger pain through its actions on endothelin-A (ET(A)) receptors of local nociceptors, it can coincidentally produce analgesia through endothelin-B (ET(B)) receptors. Here we map a new endogenous analgesic circuit, in which ET(B) receptor activation induces the release of beta-endorphin from keratinocytes and the activation of G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channels (GIRKs, also named Kir-3) linked to opioid receptors on nociceptors. These results indicate the existence of an intrinsic feedback mechanism to control peripheral pain in skin, and establish keratinocytes as an ET(B) receptor-operated opioid pool.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center