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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Feb 2024 - 9 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 02

Sci Adv




Editor's Pick

GPR39 regulated spinal glycinergic inhibition and mechanical inflammatory pain.


Bai HH, Wang KL, Zeng XR, Li J, Li Y, Xu JY, Zhang Y, Jiang HF, Yang X, Suo ZW, Hu XD


G protein-coupled receptor 39 (GPR39) senses the change of extracellular divalent zinc ion and signals through multiple G proteins to a broad spectrum of downstream effectors. Here, we found that GPR39 was prevalent at inhibitory synapses of spinal cord somatostatin-positive (SOM) interneurons, a mechanosensitive subpopulation that is critical for the conveyance of mechanical pain. GPR39 complexed specifically with inhibitory glycine receptors (GlyRs) and helped maintain glycinergic transmission in a manner independent of G protein signalings. Targeted knockdown of GPR39 in SOM interneurons reduced the glycinergic inhibition and facilitated the excitatory output from SOM interneurons to spinoparabrachial neurons that engaged superspinal neural circuits encoding both the sensory discriminative and affective motivational domains of pain experience. Our data showed that pharmacological activation of GPR39 or augmenting GPR39 interaction with GlyRs at the spinal level effectively alleviated the sensory and affective pain induced by complete Freund’s adjuvant and implicated GPR39 as a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of inflammatory mechanical pain.