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Tumor necrosis factor α modulates sodium-activated potassium channel SLICK in rat dorsal horn neurons via p38 MAPK activation pathway

Authors Wang K, Wang F, Bao J, Xie Z, Chen L, Zhou B, Xie X, Wu X

Received 11 January 2017

Accepted for publication 24 April 2017

Published 25 May 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1265—1271


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Kun Wang,1 Feng Wang,1 Jun-Ping Bao,2 Zhi-Yang Xie,1 Lu Chen,1 Bao-Yi Zhou,1 Xin-Hui Xie,2 Xiao-Tao Wu1,2

1Medical School of Southeast University, 2Department of Orthopaedics, Zhongda Hospital, Southeast University, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: The dorsal horn (DH) of the spinal cord is the integrative center that processes and transmits pain sensation. Abnormal changes in ion channel expression can enhance the excitability of pain-related DH neurons. Sodium-activated potassium (KNa) channels are highly expressed particularly in the central nervous system; however, information about whether rat DH neurons express the SLICK channel protein is lacking, and the direct effects on SLICK in response to inflammation and the potential signaling pathway mediating such effects are yet to be elucidated. Here, using cultured DH neurons, we have shown that tumor necrosis factor-α inhibits the total outward potassium current IK and the KNa current predominantly as well as induces a progressive loss of firing accommodation. However, we found that this change in channel activity is offset by the p38 inhibitor SB202190, thereby suggesting the modulation of SLICK channel activity via the p38 MAPK pathway. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that the tumor necrosis factor-α modulation of KNa channels does not occur at the level of SLICK channel gating but arises from possible posttranslational modification.

Keywords: p38 MAPK, SLICK channel, neuropathic pain, dorsal horn, TNF-α

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