Volume 114 (2010) Issue 3 Pages 332-340
Linopirdine is a well known blocker of voltage-gated potassium channels from the Kv7 (or KCNQ) family that generate the so called M current in mammalian neurons. Kv7 subunits are also expressed in pain-sensing neurons in dorsal root ganglia, in which they modulate neuronal excitability. In this study we demonstrate that linopirdine acts as an agonist of TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1), another ion channel expressed in nociceptors and involved in pain signaling. Linopirdine induces increases in intracellular calcium concentration in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells expressing TRPV1, but not TRPA1 and TRPM8 or in wild-type HEK293 cells. Linopirdine also activates an inward current in TRPV1-expressing HEK293 cells that is almost completely blocked by the selective TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine. At low concentrations linopirdine sensitizes both recombinant and native TRPV1 channels to heat, in a manner that is not prevented by the Kv7-channel opener flupirtine. Taken together, these results indicate that linopirdine exerts an excitatory action on mammalian nociceptors not only through inhibition of the M current but also through activation of the capsaicin receptor TRPV1.