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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Apr 2021 - 30 Apr 2021

Animal Studies

2021 Apr 20

J Neurosci

Editor's Pick

Early Life Nociception is Influenced by Peripheral Growth Hormone Signaling.


Dourson AJ, Ford ZK, Green KJ, McCrossan CE, Hofmann MC, Hudgins RC, Jankowski MP
J Neurosci. 2021 Apr 20.
PMID: 33888610.


A number of cellular systems work in concert to modulate nociceptive processing in the periphery, but the mechanisms that regulate neonatal nociception may be distinct compared with adults. Our previous work indicated a relationship between neonatal hypersensitivity and growth hormone (GH) signaling. Here, we explored the peripheral mechanisms by which GH modulated neonatal nociception under normal and injury conditions (incision) in male and female mice. We found that GH receptor (GHr) signaling in primary afferents maintains a tonic inhibition of peripheral hypersensitivity. After injury, a macrophage dependent displacement of injury-site GH was found to modulate neuronal transcription at least in part via serum response factor (SRF) regulation. A single GH injection into the injured hindpaw muscle effectively restored available GH signaling to neurons and prevented acute pain-like behaviors, primary afferent sensitization, and neuronal gene expression changes. GH treatment also inhibited long-term somatosensory changes observed after repeated peripheral insult. Results may indicate a novel mechanism of neonatal nociception.Although it is noted that mechanisms of pain development in early life are unique compared with adults, little research focuses on neonatal-specific peripheral mechanisms of nociception. This gap is evident in the lack of specialized care for infants following an injury including surgeries. This report evaluates how distinct cellular systems in the periphery including the endocrine, immune and nervous systems work together to modulate neonatal-specific nociception. We uncovered a novel mechanism by which muscle injury induces a macrophage-dependent sequestration of peripheral growth hormone (GH) that effectively removes its normal tonic inhibition of neonatal nociceptors to promote acute pain-like behaviors. Results indicate a possible new strategy for treatment of neonatal postsurgical pain.