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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Sep 2023 - 8 Sep 2023

Basic Science, Methodology, Resource

Animal Studies, Genetics, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Cancer Pain, Musculoskeletal Pain, Neuropathic Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Sep 07



Chemogenetic silencing of Na1.8 positive sensory neurons reverses chronic neuropathic and bone cancer pain in FLEx PSAM-GlyR mice.


Haroun R, Gossage SJ, Luiz AP, Arcangeletti M, Sikandar S, Zhao J, Cox JJ, Wood JN


Drive from peripheral neurons is essential in almost all pain states, but pharmacological silencing of these neurons to effect analgesia has proved problematic. Reversible gene therapy using long-lived chemogenetic approaches is an appealing option. We used the genetically-activated chloride channel PSAM-GlyR to examine pain pathways in mice. Using recombinant AAV9-based delivery to sensory neurons, we found a reversal of acute pain behavior and diminished neuronal activity using and GCaMP imaging upon activation of PSAM-GlyR with varenicline. A significant reduction in inflammatory heat hyperalgesia and oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia was also observed. Importantly, there was no impairment of motor coordination, but innocuous von Frey sensation was inhibited. We generated a transgenic mouse that expresses a CAG-driven FLExed PSAM-GlyR downstream of the locus that requires Cre recombinase to enable the expression of PSAM-GlyR and tdTomato. We used Na1.8 Cre to examine the role of predominantly nociceptive Na1.8+ neurons in cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) and neuropathic pain caused by chronic constriction injury (CCI). Varenicline activation of PSAM-GlyR in Na1.8-positive neurons reversed CCI-driven mechanical, thermal, and cold sensitivity. Additionally, varenicline treatment of mice with CIBP expressing PSAM-GlyR in Na1.8+ sensory neurons reversed cancer pain as assessed by weight-bearing. Moreover, when these mice were subjected to acute pain assays, an elevation in withdrawal thresholds to noxious mechanical and thermal stimuli was detected, but innocuous mechanical sensations remained unaffected. These studies confirm the utility of PSAM-GlyR chemogenetic silencing in chronic pain states for mechanistic analysis and potential future therapeutic use.Chronic pain is a massive problem. Peripheral nerve block is effective in many chronic pain conditions, demonstrating the importance of peripheral drive in chronic pain. We used chemogenetic tools based on the modified ligand-gated chloride channel PSAM-GlyR to silence dorsal root ganglion neurons and This approach reduces pain-like behavior in acute and chronic pain models, including resistant pain conditions like neuropathic pain or cancer-induced bone pain. We generated a mouse line that expresses PSAM-GlyR in a Cre-dependent manner, providing a useful research tool to address not only the role of nociceptive sensory neurons in pain states but also the function of genetically defined sets of neurons throughout the nervous system in normal and pathological conditions.