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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Jan 2024 - 12 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 09

Adv Sci (Weinh)


Editor's Pick

Inhibition of NFAT5-Dependent Astrocyte Swelling Alleviates Neuropathic Pain.


He L, Ma S, Ding Z, Huang Z, Zhang Y, Xi C, Zou K, Deng Q, Huang WJM, Guo Q, Huang C


Astrocyte swelling is implicated in various neurological disorders. However, whether astrocyte swelling contributes to neuropathic pain remains elusive. This study elucidates the pivotal role of the nuclear factor of activated T-cells 5 (NFAT5) emerges as a master regulator of astrocyte swelling in the spinal dorsal horn (SDH) during neuropathic pain. Despite the ubiquitous expression of NFAT5 protein in SDH cell types, it selectively induces swelling specifically in astrocytes, not in microglia. Mechanistically, NFAT5 directly controls the expression of the water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4), a key regulator exclusive to astrocytes. Additionally, aurora kinase B (AURKB) orchestrates NFAT5 phosphorylation, enhancing its protein stability and nuclear translocation, thereby regulating AQP4 expression. The findings establish NFAT5 as a crucial regulator for neuropathic pain through the modulation of astrocyte swelling. The AURKB-NFAT5-AQP4 pathway in astrocytes emerges as a potential therapeutic target to combat neuropathic pain.