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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Apr 2019 - 26 Apr 2019

Animal Studies

2019 05




Adenosine A3 receptor activation inhibits pronociceptive N-type Ca2+ currents and cell excitability in dorsal root ganglion neurons.


Coppi E, Cherchi F, Fusco I, Failli P, Vona A, Dettori I, Gaviano L, Lucarini E, Jacobson KA, Tosh DK, Salvemini D, Ghelardini C, Pedata F, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Pugliese A M
Pain. 2019 05; 160(5):1103-1118.
PMID: 31008816.


Recently, studies have focused on the antihyperalgesic activity of the A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) in several chronic pain models, but the cellular and molecular basis of this effect is still unknown. Here, we investigated the expression and functional effects of A3AR on the excitability of small- to medium-sized, capsaicin-sensitive, dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons isolated from 3- to 4-week-old rats. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction experiments and immunofluorescence analysis revealed A3AR expression in DRG neurons. Patch-clamp experiments demonstrated that 2 distinct A3AR agonists, Cl-IB-MECA and the highly selective MRS5980, inhibited Ca-activated K (KCa) currents evoked by a voltage-ramp protocol. This effect was dependent on a reduction in Ca influx via N-type voltage-dependent Ca channels, as Cl-IB-MECA-induced inhibition was sensitive to the N-type blocker PD173212 but not to the L-type blocker, lacidipine. The endogenous agonist adenosine also reduced N-type Ca currents, and its effect was inhibited by 56% in the presence of A3AR antagonist MRS1523, demonstrating that the majority of adenosine's effect is mediated by this receptor subtype. Current-clamp recordings demonstrated that neuronal firing of rat DRG neurons was also significantly reduced by A3AR activation in a MRS1523-sensitive but PD173212-insensitive manner. Intracellular Ca measurements confirmed the inhibitory role of A3AR on DRG neuronal firing. We conclude that pain-relieving effects observed on A3AR activation could be mediated through N-type Ca channel block and action potential inhibition as independent mechanisms in isolated rat DRG neurons. These findings support A3AR-based therapy as a viable approach to alleviate pain in different pathologies.