The Kv4.2 Potassium Channel Subunit Is Required for Pain Plasticity

Hui Juan Hu, Yarimar Carrasquillo, Farzana Karim, Wonil E. Jung, Jeanne M. Nerbonne, Thomas L. Schwarz, Robert W. Gereau IV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


A-type potassium currents are important determinants of neuronal excitability. In spinal cord dorsal horn neurons, A-type currents are modulated by extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), which mediate central sensitization during inflammatory pain. Here, we report that Kv4.2 mediates the majority of A-type current in dorsal horn neurons and is a critical site for modulation of neuronal excitability and nociceptive behaviors. Genetic elimination of Kv4.2 reduces A-type currents and increases excitability of dorsal horn neurons, resulting in enhanced sensitivity to tactile and thermal stimuli. Furthermore, ERK-mediated modulation of excitability in dorsal horn neurons and ERK-dependent forms of pain hypersensitivity are absent in Kv4.2-/- mice compared to wild-type littermates. Finally, mutational analysis of Kv4.2 indicates that S616 is the functionally relevant ERK phosphorylation site for modulation of Kv4.2-mediated currents in neurons. These results show that Kv4.2 is a downstream target of ERK in spinal cord and plays a crucial role in pain plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 6 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)



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