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Pain perception in mice lacking the beta3 subunit of voltage-activated calcium channels

Pain perception in mice lacking the beta3 subunit of voltage-activated calcium channels

Journal of Biological Chemistry 277(43): 40342-40351

The importance of voltage-activated calcium channels in pain processing has been suggested by the spinal antinociceptive action of blockers of N- and P/Q-type calcium channels as well as by gene targeting of the alpha1B subunit (N-type). The accessory beta3 subunits of calcium channels are preferentially associated with the alpha1B subunit in neurones. Here we show that deletion of the beta3 subunit by gene targeting affects strongly the pain processing of mutant mice. We pinpoint this defect in the pain-related behavior and ascending pain pathways of the spinal cord in vivo and at the level of calcium channel currents and proteins in single dorsal root ganglion neurones in vitro. The pain induced by chemical inflammation is preferentially damped by deletion of beta3 sub-units, whereas responses to acute thermal and mechanical harmful stimuli are reduced moderately or not at all, respectively. The defect results in a weak wind-up of spinal cord activity during intense afferent nerve stimulation. The molecular mechanism responsible for the phenotype was traced to low expression of N-type calcium channels (alpha1B) and functional alterations of calcium channel currents in neurones projecting to the spinal cord.

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Accession: 011113098

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12161429

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M203425200

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