Influence of changed calcium and potassium concentration on the algesic effect of bradykinin and acetylcholine
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In the isolated perfused rabbit ear bradykinin (B) and acetylcholine (ACh) stimulate paravascular pain receptors. Changed calcium (Ca2+) and potassium (K+) concentrations were used to investigate whether there were different “pharmacological” receptors for B and ACh.
Increased [K+] (26.8 mM) lowered the pain threshold for both B and ACh. Decreased [K+] (0.27 mM) did not alter the algesic effect of B or ACh.
Increased [Ca2+] (3.6 and 9.0 mM) strongly enhanced the algesic effect of ACh but reduced that of B. Decreased [Ca2+] (0.18 and 0.6 mM) also reduced the algesic effect of B but did not influence that of ACh. Single i.a. injections of CaCl2 (1–5 mg) directly stimulated paravascular pain receptors.
Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1, 10 ng/ml) reversed the inhibitory influence of 9 mM [Ca2+] on the B effect and further enhanced the Ca2+-facilitated ACh effect.
Conclusion. ACh and B exert their algesic effect via different receptor sites. This was concluded from the use of changed [Ca2+] and [K+]. High [K+] increased the effect of B and ACh due to membrane depolarization. Low [Ca2+] diminished only the effect of B but not that of ACh. High [Ca2+] increased the algesic effect of ACh possibly due to an enhanced Ca2+ influx at the generator region thus contributing to excitation. This finding is substantiated by the fact that Ca2+ by itself in sufficiently high amounts can stimulate pain receptors. High [Ca2+] reduced the effect of B by interfering with the pain enhancing action of PGE released by B, the algesic effect of which being strongly dependent on the presence of PGE.
An interference of high [Ca2+] with the direct effect of B is rather unlikely since during inhibited PGE-release high [Ca2+] no longer reduces significantly the effect of B.
Key wordsBradykinin Acetylcholine Calcium Potassium Prostaglandin E1 Pain receptors
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