Dysregulation of Kv3.4 Channels in Dorsal Root Ganglia Following Spinal Cord Injury
Journal of Neuroscience
Spinal cord injury (SCI) patients develop chronic pain involving poorly understood central and peripheral mechanisms. Because dysregulation of the voltage-gated Kv3.4 channel has been implicated in the hyperexcitable state of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons following direct injury of sensory nerves, we asked whether such a dysregulation also plays a role in SCI. Kv3.4 channels are expressed in DRG neurons, where they help regulate action potential (AP) repolarization in a manner that depends
... on the modulation of inactivation by protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent phosphorylation of the channel's inactivation domain. Here, we report that, 2 weeks after cervical hemicontusion SCI, injured rats exhibit contralateral hypersensitivity to stimuli accompanied by accentuated repetitive spiking in putative DRG nociceptors. Also in these neurons at 1 week after laminectomy and SCI, Kv3.4 channel inactivation is impaired compared with naive nonsurgical controls. At 2-6 weeks after laminectomy, however, Kv3.4 channel inactivation returns to naive levels. Conversely, Kv3.4 currents at 2-6 weeks post-SCI are downregulated and remain slow-inactivating. Immunohistochemistry indicated that downregulation mainly resulted from decreased surface expression of the Kv3.4 channel, as whole-DRG-protein and single-cell mRNA transcript levels did not change. Furthermore, consistent with Kv3.4 channel dysregulation, PKC activation failed to shorten the AP duration of small-diameter DRG neurons. Finally, re-expressing synthetic Kv3.4 currents under dynamic clamp conditions dampened repetitive spiking in the neurons from SCI rats. These results suggest a novel peripheral mechanism of post-SCI pain sensitization implicating Kv3.4 channel dysregulation and potential Kv3.4-based therapeutic interventions.