Activation of estrogen receptor α enhances bradykinin signaling in peripheral sensory neurons of female rats

Matthew P. Rowan, Kelly A. Berg, James L. Roberts, Kenneth M. Hargreaves, William P. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have demonstrated that females have a higher risk of experiencing several pain disorders with either greater frequency or severity than males. Although the mechanisms that underlie this sex disparity remain unclear, several studies have shown an important role for sex steroids, such as estrogen, in the modulation of nociception. Receptors for estrogen are present in primary afferent neurons in the trigeminal and dorsal root ganglia, and brief exposure to estrogen increases responses to the inflammatory mediator bradykinin (BK). However, the mechanism for estrogenmediated enhancement of BK signaling is not fully understood. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relative contributions of estrogen receptor a (ERa), ERb, andGprotein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) to the enhanced signaling of the inflammatory mediator BK by 17β-estradiol (17β-E2) in primary sensory neurons from female rats in culture (ex vivo) and in behavioral assays of nociception in vivo. The effects of 17β-E2 on BK responses were mimicked by ERα-selective agonists and blocked by ERα-selective antagonists and by small interfering RNA knockdown of ERα. The data indicate that ERα is required for 17β-E 2-mediated enhancement of BK signaling in peripheral sensory neurons in female rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-532
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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