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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Oct 31

Mol Neurobiol


Roles of Neuronal Protein Kinase Cε on Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Autophagic Formation in Diabetic Neuropathy.


Kan YY, Chang YS, Liao WC, Chao TN, Hsieh YL


In chronic diabetic neuropathy (DN), the cellular mechanisms of neuropathic pain remain unclear. Protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) is an intracellular signaling molecule that mediates chronic pain. This paper addresses the long-term upregulated PKCε in DN associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagic formation and correlates to chronic neuropathic pain. We found that thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia course development were associated with PKCε upregulation after DN but not skin denervation. Pathologically, PKCε upregulation was associated with the expression of inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α; ER stress-related molecule) and ubiquitin D (UBD), which are involved in the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS)-mediated degradation of misfolded proteins under ER stress. Manders coefficient analyses revealed an approximately 50% colocalized ratio for IRE1α(+):PKCε(+) neurons (0.34-0.48 for M1 and 0.40-0.58 for M2 Manders coefficients). The colocalized coefficients of UBD/PKCε increased (M1: 0.33 ± 0.03 vs. 0.77 ± 0.04, p < 0.001; M2: 0.29 ± 0.05 vs. 0.78 ± 0.04; p < 0.001) in the acute DN stage. In addition, the regulatory subunit p85 of phosphoinositide 3-kinase, which is involved in regulating insulin signaling, exhibited similar expression patterns to those of IRE1α and UBD; for example, it had highly colocalized ratios to PKCε. The ultrastructural examination further confirmed that autophagic formation was associated with PKCε upregulation. Furthermore, PKCεv1-2, a PKCε specific inhibitor, reverses neuropathic pain, ER stress, and autophagic formation in DN. This finding suggests PKCε plays an upstream molecule in DN-associated neuropathic pain and neuropathology and could provide a potential therapeutic target.