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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Aug 2020 - 21 Aug 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Aug 11




Schwann Cell Autocrine and Paracrine Regulatory Mechanisms, Mediated by Allopregnanolone and BDNF, Modulate PKCε in Peripheral Sensory Neurons.


Bonalume V, Caffino L, Castelnovo LF, Faroni A, Giavarini F, Liu S, Caruso D, Schmelz M, Fumagalli F, Carr RW, Magnaghi V
Cells. 2020 Aug 11; 9(8).
PMID: 32796542.


Protein kinase type C-ε (PKCε) plays important roles in the sensitization of primary afferent nociceptors, such as ion channel phosphorylation, that in turn promotes mechanical hyperalgesia and pain chronification. In these neurons, PKCε is modulated through the local release of mediators by the surrounding Schwann cells (SCs). The progesterone metabolite allopregnanolone (ALLO) is endogenously synthesized by SCs, whereas it has proven to be a crucial mediator of neuron-glia interaction in peripheral nerve fibers. Biomolecular and pharmacological studies on rat primary SCs and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neuronal cultures were aimed at investigating the hypothesis that ALLO modulates neuronal PKCε, playing a role in peripheral nociception. We found that SCs tonically release ALLO, which, in turn, autocrinally upregulated the synthesis of the growth factor brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Subsequently, glial BDNF paracrinally activates PKCε via trkB in DRG sensory neurons. Herein, we report a novel mechanism of SCs-neuron cross-talk in the peripheral nervous system, highlighting a key role of ALLO and BDNF in nociceptor sensitization. These findings emphasize promising targets for inhibiting the development and chronification of neuropathic pain.