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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Oct 2020 - 9 Oct 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Oct 05

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Chronicling changes in the somatosensory neurons after peripheral nerve injury.


Raghuraman S, Xie JY, Giacobassi MJ, Tun JO, Chase K, Lu D, Teichert RW, Porreca F, Olivera BM
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Oct 05.
PMID: 33020310.


Current drug discovery efforts focus on identifying lead compounds acting on a molecular target associated with an established pathological state. Concerted molecular changes that occur in specific cell types during disease progression have generally not been identified. Here, we used constellation pharmacology to investigate rat dorsal root ganglion neurons using two models of peripheral nerve injury: chronic constriction injury (CCI) and spinal nerve ligation (SNL). In these well-established models of neuropathic pain, we show that the onset of chronic pain is accompanied by a dramatic, previously unreported increase in the number of bradykinin-responsive neurons, with larger increases observed after SNL relative to CCI. To define the neurons with altered expression, we charted the temporal course of molecular changes following 1, 3, 6, and 14 d after SNL injury and demonstrated that specific molecular changes have different time courses during the progression to a pain state. In particular, ATP receptors up-regulated on day 1 postinjury, whereas the increase in bradykinin receptors was gradual after day 3 postinjury. We specifically tracked changes in two subsets of neurons: peptidergic and nonpeptidergic nociceptors. Significant increases occurred in ATP responses in nAChR-expressing isolectin B4+ nonpeptidergic neurons 1 d postinjury, whereas peptidergic neurons did not display any significant change. We propose that remodeling of ion channels and receptors occurs in a concerted and cell-specific manner, resulting in the appearance of bradykinin-responsive neuronal subclasses that are relevant to chronic pain.