Bradykinin is a peptide implicated in inflammatory pain in both humans and rodents. In rodent sensory neurons, activation of B1 and B2 bradykinin receptors induces neuronal hyperexcitability. Recent evidence suggests that human and rodent dorsal root ganglia (DRG), which contain the cell bodies of sensory neurons, differ in the expression and function of key GPCRs and ion channels; whether bradykinin receptor expression and function are conserved across species has not been studied in depth. In this study, we used human DRG tissue from organ donors to provide a detailed characterization of bradykinin receptor expression and bradykinin-induced changes in the excitability of human sensory neurons. We found that B2 and, to a lesser extent, B1 receptors are expressed by human DRG neurons and satellite glial cells. B2 receptors were enriched in the nociceptor subpopulation. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology, we found that acute bradykinin increases the excitability of human sensory neurons, whereas prolonged exposure to bradykinin decreases neuronal excitability in a subpopulation of human DRG neurons. Finally, our analyses suggest that donor's history of chronic pain and age may be predictors of higher B1 receptor expression in human DRG neurons. Together, these results indicate that acute bradykinin-induced hyperexcitability, first identified in rodents, is conserved in humans and provide further evidence supporting bradykinin signaling as a potential therapeutic target for treating pain in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-215
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • Bradykinin
  • Human dorsal root ganglia
  • Pain
  • Sensory neurons


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