Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 110–115 | Cite as

The Role of K+-Cl-Cotransporter-2 in Neuropathic Pain

  • Tomoya KitayamaEmail author
Original Paper


The pain sensory system normally functions under a fine balance between excitation and inhibition. When this balance is perturbed for some reason, it leads to neuropathic pain. There is accumulating evidence that attributes this pain generation to specific dysfunctions of the inhibitory system in the spinal cord. One possible mechanism leading to the induction of these dysfunctions is the down-regulation of K+-Cl-cotransporter-2 (KCC2) expression. In fact, various neuropathic pain models indicate a decrease of KCC2 expression in the spinal cord. The alteration of KCC2 expression affects GABAergic and glycinergic neurotransmissions, because KCC2 is a potassium-chloride exporter and serves to maintain intracellular chloride concentration. When there is a low level of KCC2 expression, GABAergic and glycinergic neurotransmissions transform from inhibitory signals to excitatory signals. In this review, the hypothesis that an alteration of KCC2 expression has a crucial influence on the initiation/development or maintenance of neuropathic pain is discussed. In addition, it is suggested that the alteration of inhibitory signals is dependent on the time after peripheral nerve injury.


Neuropathic pain KCC2 Chloride gradient 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical ScienceMukogawa Women’s UniversityNishinomiyaJapan

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