I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Apr 2022 - 15 Apr 2022

2022 Apr 14

JCI Insight

Estrogen metabolites increase nociceptor hyperactivity in a mouse model of uterine pain.


Xie Z, Feng J, Cai T, McCarthy R, Eschbach Ii MD, Wang Y, Zhao Y, Yi Z, Zang K, Yuan Y, Hu X, Li F, Liu Q, Das A, England SK, Hu H
JCI Insight. 2022 Apr 14.
PMID: 35420999.


Pain emanating from the female reproductive tract is notoriously difficult to be treated and the prevalence of transient pelvic pain has been placed as high as 70-80% in women surveyed. Although sex hormones, especially estrogen, are thought to underlie enhanced pain perception in females, the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms are not completely understood. Here we show that the pain-initiating TRPA1 channel is required for pain-related behaviors in a mouse model of estrogen-induced uterine pain in ovariectomized female mice. Surprisingly, 2- and 4-hydroxylated estrogen metabolites (HEMs) in the estrogen hydroxylation pathway, but not estrone, estradiol and 16-HEMs, directly increase nociceptor hyperactivity through TRPA1 and TRPV1 channels, and picomolar concentrations of 2- and 4-hydroxylation estrone (OHE1) can sensitize TRPA1 channel function. Moreover, both TRPA1 and TRPV1 are expressed in uterine-innervating primary nociceptors and their expressions are increased in the estrogen-induced uterine pain model. Importantly, pretreatment of 2- or 4-OHE1 recapitulates estrogen-induced uterine pain-like behaviors and intraplantar injections of 2- and 4-OHE1 directly produce a TRPA1-dependent mechanical hypersensitivity. Our findings demonstrate that TRPA1 is critically involved in estrogen-induced uterine pain-like behaviors, which may provide a potential drug target for treating female reproductive tract pain.