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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jun 2024 - 28 Jun 2024

2024 May 21

JCI Insight




ESRRG-controlled downregulation of KCNN1 in primary sensory neurons is required for neuropathic pain.


Wang H, Zuo W, Feng X, Huo X, Liang Y, Wang B, Sharma D, Li X, Yasin B, Ye JH, Hu H, Tao YX


Peripheral nerve injury-induced neuronal hyperactivity in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) participates in neuropathic pain. The calcium-activated potassium channel subfamily N member 1 (KCNN1) mediates action potential afterhyperpolarization (AHP) and gates neuronal excitability. However, the specific contribution of DRG KCNN1 to neuropathic pain is not yet clear. We report that chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the unilateral sciatic nerve or unilateral ligation of the fourth lumbar nerve produced the downregulation of Kcnn1 mRNA and KCNN1 protein in the injured DRG. This downregulation was partially attributed to a decrease in DRG estrogen-related receptor gamma (ESRRG), a transcription factor, which led to reduced binding to the Kcnn1 promoter. Rescuing this downregulation prevented CCI-induced decreases in total potassium voltage currents and AHP currents, reduced excitability in the injured DRG neurons, and alleviated CCI-induced development and maintenance of nociceptive hypersensitivities, without affecting locomotor function and acute pain. Mimicking the CCI-induced DRG KCNN1 downregulation resulted in augmented responses to mechanical, heat, and cold stimuli in naive mice. Our findings indicate that ESRRG-controlled downregulation of DRG KCNN1 is likely essential for the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. Thus, KCNN1 may serve as a potential target for managing this disorder.