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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Feb 2023 - 10 Feb 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Feb 09

Mol Neurobiol


Critical Pronociceptive Role of Family 2 Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels in a Novel Mouse Model of HIV-Associated Sensory Neuropathy.


Lückemeyer DD, Prudente AS, de Amorim Ferreira M, da Silva AM, Tonello R, Junior SJM, do Prado CSH, de Castro Júnior CJ, Gomez MV, Calixto JB, Ferreira J


Some people living with HIV present painful sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) that is pharmacoresistant, sex-associated, and a major source of morbidity. Since the specific mechanisms underlying HIV-SN are not well understood, the aim of our study was to characterize a novel model of painful HIV-SN by combining the HIV-1 gp120 protein and the antiretroviral stavudine (d4T) in mice and to investigate the pronociceptive role of the family 2 voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) α1 subunit (Cav2.X channels) in such a model. HIV-SN was induced in male and female C57BL/6 mice by administration of gp120 and/or d4T and detected by a battery of behavior tests and by immunohistochemistry. The role of Cav2.X channels was assessed by the treatment with selective blockers and agonists as well as by mRNA detection. Repeated administration with gp120 and/or d4T produced long-lasting touch-evoked painful-like behaviors (starting at 6 days, reaching a maximum on day 13, and lasting up to 28 days after treatment started), with a greater intensity in female mice treated with the combination of gp120 + d4T. Moreover, gp120 + d4T treatment reduced the intraepidermal nerve fibers and well-being of female mice, without altering other behaviors. Mechanistically, gp120 + d4T treatment induced Cav2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 transcriptional increases in the dorsal root ganglion and the Cav2.X agonist-induced nociception. Accordingly, intrathecal selective Cav2.2 blockade presented longer and better efficacy in reversing the hyperalgesia induced by gp120 + d4T treatment compared with Cav2.1 or Cav2.3, but also presented the worst safety (inducing side effects at effective doses). We conclude that the family 2 calcium channels (Cav2.X) exert a critical pronociceptive role in a novel mouse model of HIV-SN.