I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Mar 2023 - 24 Mar 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Mar 15

Prog Neurobiol


Spinal Astrocytic MeCP2 Regulates Kir4.1 for the Maintenance of Chronic Hyperalgesia in Neuropathic Pain.


Ou M, Chen Y, Liu J, Zhang D, Yang Y, Shen J, Miao C, Tang SJ, Liu X, Mulkey DK, Zhu T, Zhou C


Astrocyte activation in the spinal dorsal horn may play an important role in the development of chronic neuropathic pain, but the mechanisms involved in astrocyte activation and their modulatory effects remain unknown. The inward rectifying potassium channel protein 4.1 (Kir4.1) is the most important background K channel in astrocytes. However, how Kir4.1 is regulated and contributes to behavioral hyperalgesia in chronic pain is unknown. In this study, single-cell RNA sequencing analysis indicated that the expression levels of both Kir4.1 and Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) were decreased in spinal astrocytes after chronic constriction injury (CCI) in a mouse model. Conditional knockout of the Kir4.1 channel in spinal astrocytes led to hyperalgesia, and overexpression of the Kir4.1 channel in spinal cord relieved CCI-induced hyperalgesia. Expression of spinal Kir4.1 after CCI was regulated by MeCP2. Electrophysiological recording in spinal slices showed that knockdown of Kir4.1 significantly up-regulated the excitability of astrocytes and then functionally changed the firing patterns of neurons in dorsal spinal cord. Therefore, targeting spinal Kir4.1 may be a therapeutic approach for hyperalgesia in chronic neuropathic pain.