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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain


Mol Pain



Peripheral sensory neurons and non-neuronal cells express functional Piezo1 channels.


Shin SM, Itson-Zoske B, Fan F, Gani U, Rahman M, Hogan QH, Yu H


Here, we present evidence showing Piezo1 protein expression in the primary sensory neurons (PSNs) and non-neuronal cells of rat peripheral nervous system. Using a knockdown/knockout validated antibody, we detected Piezo1 immunoreactivity (IR) in ∼60% of PSNs of rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) with higher IR density in the small- and medium-sized neurons. Piezo1-IR was clearly identified in DRG perineuronal glia, including satellite glial cells (SGCs) and Schwann cells; in sciatic nerve Schwann cells surrounding the axons and cutaneous afferent endings; and in skin epidermal Merkel cells and melanocytes. Neuronal and non-neuronal Piezo1 channels were functional since various cells (dissociated PSNs and SGCs from DRGs, isolated Schwann cells, and primary human melanocytes) exhibited a robust response to Piezo1 agonist Yoda1 by an increase of intracellular Ca concentration ([Ca]). These responses were abolished by non-specific Piezo1 antagonist GsMTx4. Immunoblots showed elevated Piezo1 protein in DRG proximal to peripheral nerve injury-induced painful neuropathy, while PSNs and SGCs from rats with neuropathic pain showed greater Yoda1-evoked elevation of [Ca] and an increased frequency of cells responding to Yoda1, compared to controls. Sciatic nerve application of GsMTx4 alleviated mechanical hypersensitivity induced by Yoda1. Overall, our data show that Piezo1 is widely expressed by the neuronal and non-neuronal cells in the peripheral sensory pathways and that painful nerve injury appeared associated with activation of Piezo1 in PSNs and peripheral glial cells.