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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Jan - Feb

J Pain



Calcium channel α2δ1 subunit mediates secondary orofacial hyperalgesia through PKC-TRPA1/gap junction signaling.


Cui W-Q, Chu Y-X, Xu F, Chen T, Gao L, Feng Y, Hu X-M, Yang W, Du L-X, Zhang W-W, Mao-Ying Q-L, Mi W-L, Wang Y-Q
J Pain. 2020 Jan - Feb; 21(1-2):238-257.
PMID: 31494272.


Orofacial pain is characterized by its easy spread to adjacent areas, thus presenting with primary hyperalgesia (hypersensitivity at the site of injury) and secondary hyperalgesia (extra-territorial hypersensitivity outside the injured zone). However, the mechanisms behind the secondary hyperalgesia are poorly understood. In the present study, we used a mouse model of partial transection of the infraorbital nerve (pT-ION) to study whether calcium channel subunit α2δ1 (Cavα2δ1) and its downstream signaling contributes to the development of secondary hyperalgesia in the orofacial area. pT-ION caused primary (V2 skin) and secondary (V3 skin) hyperalgesia, which was reversed by the Cavα2δ1 antagonist gabapentin and by the expression of Cavα2δ1-targeting interfering RNA in trigeminal ganglion (TG)-V3 neurons. pT-ION induced increased expression of PKC and TRPA1, which was reversed by Cavα2δ1-targeting interfering RNA, and PKC inhibition reversed the upregulation of TRPA1 and gap junction (GJ) proteins induced by pT-ION. Cavα2δ1 overexpression in TG-V2 neurons induced the upregulation of PKC, TRPA1, and the GJ proteins in the TG and trigeminal subnucleus caudalis and induced hypersensitivity in the V3 skin area, which was reversed by TRPA1, GJ, or PKC blockade. Thus, we conclude that Cavα2δ1 contributes to the development of secondary hyperalgesia through its downstream PKC-TRPA1/GJ signaling pathways. Perspective: This study demonstrates that the activation of Cavα2δ1 and the downstream PKC-TRPA1/GJ signaling pathway contributes greatly to trigeminal nerve injury-induced secondary mechanical and cold hyperalgesia. This suggests that inhibitors of Cavα2δ1, TRPA1, or GJs might be effective treatments for nerve injury-induced spreading of orofacial pain.