cGMP-dependent signaling pathways in spinal pain processing
- Oral presentation from 4th International Conference of cGMP Generators, Effectors and Therapeutic Implications ; Regensburg, Germany. 19–21 June 2009 Background: An exaggerated pain sensitivity is the dominant feature of inflammatory and neuropathic pain both in the clinical setting and in experimental animal models. It manifests as pain in response to normally innocuous stimuli (allodynia), increased response to noxious stimuli (hyperalgesia) or spontaneous pain, and can persist long after the initial injury is resolved. Research over the last decades has revealed that several signaling pathways in the spinal cord essentially contribute to the pain sensitization. To test the contribution of cGMP produced by NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NO-GC) to pain sensitization, we investigated the localization of NO-GC in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and we characterized the nociceptive behavior of mice deficient in NO-GC (GC-KO mice). Results: We show that NO-GC (β1 subunit) is distinctly expressed in neurons of the mouse spinal cord, while its distribution in dorsal root ganglia is restricted to non-neuronal cells. GC-KO mice exhibited a considerably reduced nociceptive behavior in models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain, but their responses to acute pain were not impaired. Moreover, GC-KO mice failed to develop pain sensitization induced by spinal administration of drugs releasing NO. Surprisingly, during spinal nociceptive processing cGMP produced by NO-GC may activate signaling pathways different from cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI), while cGKI can be activated by natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B) dependent cGMP production. Conclusion: Taken together, our results provide evidence that NO-GC has a dominant role in the development of exaggerated pain sensitivity during inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Furthermore, beside the NO-mediated cGMP synthesis, cGMP produced by NPR-B contributes to pain sensitization by activation of cGKI.
Presynaptically localized cyclic GMP-dependent Protein Kinase 1 is a key determinant of spinal synaptic potentiation and pain hypersensitivity
Kiran Kumar Bali
Andrew J. Todd
- Synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) at spinal neurons directly communicating pain-specific inputs from the periphery to the brain has been proposed to serve as a trigger for pain hypersensitivity in pathological states. Previous studies have functionally implicated the NMDA receptor-NO pathway and the downstream second messenger, cGMP, in these processes. Because cGMP can broadly influence diverse ion-channels, kinases, and phosphodiesterases, pre- as well as post-synaptically, the precise identity of cGMP targets mediating spinal LTP, their mechanisms of action, and their locus in the spinal circuitry are still unclear. Here, we found that Protein Kinase G1 (PKG-I) localized presynaptically in nociceptor terminals plays an essential role in the expression of spinal LTP. Using the Cre-lox P system, we generated nociceptor-specific knockout mice lacking PKG-I specifically in presynaptic terminals of nociceptors in the spinal cord, but not in post-synaptic neurons or elsewhere (SNS-PKG-I−/− mice). Patch clamp recordings showed that activity-induced LTP at identified synapses between nociceptors and spinal neurons projecting to the periaqueductal grey (PAG) was completely abolished in SNS-PKG-I−/− mice, although basal synaptic transmission was not affected. Analyses of synaptic failure rates and paired-pulse ratios indicated a role for presynaptic PKG-I in regulating the probability of neurotransmitter release. Inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor 1 and myosin light chain kinase were recruited as key phosphorylation targets of presynaptic PKG-I in nociceptive neurons. Finally, behavioural analyses in vivo showed marked defects in SNS-PKG-I−/− mice in several models of activity-induced nociceptive hypersensitivity, and pharmacological studies identified a clear contribution of PKG-I expressed in spinal terminals of nociceptors. Our results thus indicate that presynaptic mechanisms involving an increase in release probability from nociceptors are operational in the expression of synaptic LTP on spinal-PAG projection neurons and that PKG-I localized in presynaptic nociceptor terminals plays an essential role in this process to regulate pain sensitivity.
Nerve injury evoked loss of latexin expression in spinal cord neurons contributes to the development of neuropathic pain
Hilmar Nils Kühlein
Ingo Wilhelm Matthias Jennes
- Nerve injury leads to sensitization mechanisms in the peripheral and central nervous system which involve transcriptional and post-transcriptional modifications in sensory nerves. To assess protein regulations in the spinal cord after injury of the sciatic nerve in the Spared Nerve Injury model (SNI) we performed a proteomic analysis using 2D-difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) technology. Among approximately 2300 protein spots separated on each gel we detected 55 significantly regulated proteins after SNI whereof 41 were successfully identified by MALDI-TOF MS. Out of the proteins which were regulated in the DIGE analyses after SNI we focused on the carboxypeptidase A inhibitor latexin because protease dysfunctions contribute to the development of neuropathic pain. Latexin protein expression was reduced after SNI which could be confirmed by Western Blot analysis, quantitative RT-PCR and in-situ hybridisation. The decrease of latexin was associated with an increase of the activity of carboxypeptidase A indicating that the balance between latexin and carboxypeptidase A was impaired in the spinal cord after peripheral nerve injury due to a loss of latexin expression in spinal cord neurons. This may contribute to the development of cold allodynia because normalization of neuronal latexin expression in the spinal cord by AAV-mediated latexin transduction or administration of a small molecule carboxypeptidase A inhibitor significantly reduced acetone-evoked nociceptive behavior after SNI. Our results show the usefulness of proteomics as a screening tool to identify novel mechanisms of nerve injury evoked hypernociception and suggest that carboxypeptidase A inhibition might be useful to reduce cold allodynia.
The role of cGMP and PKG-I in spinal nociceptive processing
- First paragraph (this article has no abstract) Persistent stimulation of nociceptors results in sensitization of nociceptive sensory neurons, which is associated with hyperalgesia and allodynia. The release of NO and subsequent synthesis of cGMP in the spinal cord are involved in this process. cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (PKG-I) has been suggested to act as a downstream target of cGMP, but its exact role in nociception hadn't been characterized yet. To further evaluate the NO/cGMP/PKG-I pathway in nociception we assessed the effects of PKG-I inhibiton and activaton in the rat formalin assay and analyzed the nociceptive behavior of PKG-I-/- mice. Open access article.