• Colon distension;
  • Hyperalgesia;
  • Inflammation;
  • Visceral pain;
  • Viscerosomatic responses;
  • R-848;
  • Nav1.9 TTX-resistant sodium channels


Tetrodotoxin-resistant voltage-gated sodium channels subtype 9 (Nav1.9) are expressed in small-diameter dorsal root ganglion neurons and have been involved in persistent somatic hyperalgesic responses associated with inflammation. We assessed the role of Nav1.9 channels on acute colonic inflammation-induced visceral hypersensitivity in conscious mice, using Nav1.9 knockout (KO) mice. Colorectal distension (CRD)-induced visceral pain was assessed in conscious wild-type and Nav1.9 KO mice (C57Bl/6 background). The mechanical activity of the abdominal muscles during isobaric colorectal distension was used as a measure of visceral pain. Acute colonic inflammation was induced by intracolonic administration of the toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 activator, R-848 (40μg/animal). CRD was performed 5h later, thereafter animals were euthanized and the colonic content of inflammatory mediators assessed. Normal pain responses were similar in Nav1.9 KO and wild-type mice. In wild-type mice, R-848 administration increased the response to phasic CRD by 62% compared with vehicle-treated animals (vehicle: 0.16±0.04, R-848: 0.26±0.03, n=6–7, P<0.05). However, in Nav1.9 KO mice, intracolonic R-848 did not affect the response to CRD (0.11±0.02, n=7) compared to animals treated with vehicle (0.17±0.03, n=5; P>0.05). After R-848 administration, the colonic content of pro-inflammatory cytokines was increased in similar proportion in wild type and Nav1.9 KO mice, suggesting the presence of a similar acute inflammatory reaction in both groups of animals. These results suggest that Nav1.9 channels do not significantly contribute to normal visceral pain responses to acute colonic mechanical stimulation but may be important for the development of inflammation-related acute visceral hyperalgesic responses.