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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Oct 2022 - 7 Oct 2022

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Oct 04

JCI Insight

Editor's Pick

mTOR-neuropeptide Y signaling sensitizes nociceptors to drive neuropathic pain.


Chen L, Hu Y, Wang S, Cao K, Mai W, Sha W, Ma H, Zeng L-H, Xu Z-Z, Gao Y-J, Duan S, Wang Y, Gao Z
JCI Insight. 2022 Oct 04.
PMID: 36194480.


Neuropathic pain is a refractory condition that involves de novo protein synthesis in the nociceptive pathway. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a master regulator of protein translation; however, mechanisms underlying its role in neuropathic pain remain elusive. Using the spared nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain model, we found that mTOR was preferentially activated in large-diameter dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and spinal microglia. However, selective ablation of mTOR in DRG neurons, rather than microglia, alleviated acute neuropathic pain in mice. We showed that injury-induced mTOR activation promoted the transcriptional induction of Npy likely via signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation. NPY further acted primarily on Y2 receptors (Y2R) to enhance neuronal excitability. Peripheral replenishment of NPY reversed pain alleviation upon mTOR removal, whereas Y2R antagonists prevented pain restoration. Our findings reveal an unexpected link between mTOR and NPY/Y2R in promoting nociceptor sensitization and neuropathic pain.