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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Dec 2023 - 29 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 22



Editor's Pick

The Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor d (Mrgprd) mediates pain hypersensitivity in painful diabetic neuropathy.


George DS, Jayaraj ND, Pacifico P, Ren D, Sriram N, Miller RE, Malfait AM, Miller RJ, Menichella DM


Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is one of the most common and intractable complications of diabetes. Painful diabetic neuropathy is characterized by neuropathic pain accompanied by dorsal root ganglion (DRG) nociceptor hyperexcitability, axonal degeneration, and changes in cutaneous innervation. However, the complete molecular profile underlying the hyperexcitable cellular phenotype of DRG nociceptors in PDN has not been elucidated. This gap in our knowledge is a critical barrier to developing effective, mechanism-based, and disease-modifying therapeutic approaches that are urgently needed to relieve the symptoms of PDN. Using single-cell RNA sequencing of DRGs, we demonstrated an increased expression of the Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor d (Mrgprd) in a subpopulation of DRG neurons in the well-established high-fat diet (HFD) mouse model of PDN. Importantly, limiting Mrgprd signaling reversed mechanical allodynia in the HFD mouse model of PDN. Furthermore, in vivo calcium imaging allowed us to demonstrate that activation of Mrgprd-positive cutaneous afferents that persist in diabetic mice skin resulted in an increased intracellular calcium influx into DRG nociceptors that we assess in vivo as a readout of nociceptors hyperexcitability. Taken together, our data highlight a key role of Mrgprd-mediated DRG neuron excitability in the generation and maintenance of neuropathic pain in a mouse model of PDN. Hence, we propose Mrgprd as a promising and accessible target for developing effective therapeutics currently unavailable for treating neuropathic pain in PDN.