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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 21

J Pain


The estrogen receptor alpha regulates the sex-dependent expression and pronociceptive role of bestrophin-1 in neuropathic rats.


Calvillo-Montoya DL, Martínez-Magaña CJ, Oviedo N, Murbartián J


Bestrophin-1, a calcium-activated chloride channel (CaCC), is involved in neuropathic pain; however, it is unclear whether it has a dimorphic role in female and male neuropathic rats. This study investigated if 17β-estradiol and estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) activation regulate bestrophin-1 activity and expression in neuropathic rats. Neuropathic pain was induced by L5-spinal nerve transection (SNT). Intrathecal administration of CaCC (0.1-1 µg), a CaCC blocker, reversed tactile allodynia induced by SNT in female but not male rats. In contrast, T16A a selective anoctamin-1 blocker, had an equal antiallodynic effect in both sexes. SNT increased bestrophin-1 protein expression in injured L5 dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in female rats but decreased bestrophin-1 protein in L5 DRG in male rats. Ovariectomy prevented the antiallodynic effect of CaCC, but 17β-estradiol replacement restored it. The effect of CaCC was prevented by intrathecal administration of MPP, a selective ERα antagonist, in rats with and without prior hormonal manipulation. In female rats with neuropathy, ovariectomy prevented the increase in bestrophin-1 and ERα protein expression, while 17β-estradiol replacement allowed for an increase in both proteins in L5 DRG. Furthermore, ERα antagonism (with MPP) prevented the increase in bestrophin-1 and ERα protein expression. Finally, ERα activation with PPT, an ERα selective activator, induced the antiallodynic effect of CaCC in neuropathic male rats and prevented the reduction in bestrophin-1 protein expression in L5 DRG. In summary, data suggest ERα activation is necessary for bestrophin-1’s pronociceptive action to maintain neuropathic pain in female rats. PERSPECTIVE: The mechanisms involved in neuropathic pain differ between male and female animals. Our data suggests that ERα is necessary for the expression and function of bestrophin-1 in neuropathic female but not male rats. Data supports the idea that a therapeutic approach to relieving neuropathic pain must be based on patient’s gender.