B2 receptor-mediated enhanced bradykinin sensitivity of rat cutaneous C-fiber nociceptors during persistent inflammation

Ratan Kumar Banik, Yasuko Kozaki, Jun Sato, Lajos Gera, Kazue Mizumura

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48 Scopus citations


2001. Bradykinin (BK), which has potent algesic and sensitizing effect on nociceptors, is of current interest in understanding the mechanisms of chronic pain. BK response is mediated by B2 receptor in normal conditions; however, findings that B1 receptor blockade alleviated hyperalgesia in inflammation have been highlighting the role of B1 receptor in pathological conditions. It has not yet been clear whether nociceptor activities are modified by B1 receptor agonists or antagonists during inflammation. In addition, previous studies reported the change in BK sensitivity of nociceptors during short-lasting inflammation, and data in persistent inflammation are lacking. Therefore we investigated whether an experimentally induced persistent inflammatory state modulates the BK sensitivity of nociceptors and which receptor subtype plays a more important role in this condition. Complete Freund's adjuvant was injected into the rat-tail and after 2-3 wk, persistent inflammation developed, which was prominent in the ankle joint. Using an in vitro skin-saphenous nerve preparation, single-fiber recordings were made from mechano-heat sensitive C-fiber nociceptors innervating rat hairy hindpaw skin, and their responses were compared with those obtained from C-fibers tested similarly in normal animals. BK at 10-8 M excited none of the 10 C-fibers in normal animals while it excited 5 of 11 (45%) C-fibers of inflamed animals, and at 10-6 M BK excited all of the 11 inflamed C-fibers (or 94% of 36 tested C-fibers) but only 4 of 10 (or 45% of 58 tested C-fibers) in normal animals. Thus the concentration-response curves based on the incidence of BK induced excitation, and the total number of impulses evoked in response to BK were significantly shifted to the left. Moreover, an increased percentage of the inflamed C-fibers responded to 10-6 M BK with bursting or high-frequency discharges. Thirty-percent of inflamed C-fibers had spontaneous activity, and these fibers showed comparatively less tachyphylaxis to consecutive second and third 10-6 M BK stimulation. A B2 receptor antagonist (D-Arg-[Hyp3, Thi5.8, D-phe7]-BK) completely eliminated BK responses in inflamed rats, while B1 receptor antagonists (B 9958 and Des-Arg9-[Leu8]-BK) had no effect. Selective B1 receptor agonist (Des-Arg10-Kallidin) excited 46% (n = 13) of inflamed C-fibers at 10-5 M concentration, which is 1,000 times higher than that of BK needed to excite the same percentage of inflamed C-fibers. We conclude that in chronically inflamed tissue, sensitivity of C-fiber nociceptors to BK, which is B2 receptor mediated, is strongly increased and that B1 receptor may not be important to a persistent inflammatory state, at least at the primary afferent level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2727-2735
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


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