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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Feb 2021 - 12 Feb 2021

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development



PLoS One



Prenylated quinolinecarboxylic acid compound-18 prevents sensory nerve fiber outgrowth through inhibition of the interleukin-31 pathway.


Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is involved in excessive development of cutaneous sensory nerves in atopic dermatitis (AD), leading to severe pruritus. We previously reported that PQA-18, a prenylated quinolinecarboxylic acid (PQA) derivative, is an immunosuppressant with inhibition of p21-activated kinase 2 (PAK2) and improves skin lesions in Nc/Nga mice as an AD model. In the present study, we investigate the effect of PQA-18 on sensory nerves in lesional skin. PQA-18 alleviates cutaneous nerve fiber density in the skin of Nc/Nga mice. PQA-18 also inhibits IL-31-induced sensory nerve fiber outgrowth in dorsal root ganglion cultures. Signaling analysis reveals that PQA-18 suppresses phosphorylation of PAK2, Janus kinase 2, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), activated by IL-31 receptor (IL-31R), resulting in inhibition of neurite outgrowth in Neuro2A cells. Gene silencing analysis for PAK2 confirms the requirement for STAT3 phosphorylation and neurite outgrowth elicited by IL-31R activation. LC/MS/MS analysis reveals that PQA-18 prevents the formation of PAK2 activation complexes induced by IL-31R activation. These results suggest that PQA-18 inhibits the IL-31 pathway through suppressing PAK2 activity, which suppresses sensory nerve outgrowth. PQA-18 may be a valuable lead for the development of a novel drug for pruritus of AD.