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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jul 2023 - 21 Jul 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Genetics, Human Studies, Neurobiology

2023 Jul 05





Translation of Experimental Findings from Animal to Human Biology: Identification of Neuronal Mineralocorticoid and Glucocorticoid Receptors in a Sectioned Main Nerve Trunk of the Leg.


Tafelski S, Wandrey JD, Shaqura M, Hong X, Beyer A, Schäfer M, Mousa SA


The activation of the mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptors on peripheral sensory neurons seems to modify pain perception through both direct non-genomic and indirect genomic pathways. These distinct subpopulations of sensory neurons are not known for peripheral human nerves. Therefore, we examined MR and GR on subpopulations of sensory neurons in sectioned human and rat peripheral nerves. Real-time PCR (RT-PCR) and double immunofluorescence confocal analysis of MR and GR with the neuronal markers PGP9.5, neurofilament 200 (NF200), and the potential pain signaling molecules CGRP, Nav1.8, and TRPV1 were performed in human and rat nerve tissue. We evaluated mechanical hyperalgesia after intrathecal administration of GR and MR agonists. We isolated MR- and GR-specific mRNA from human peripheral nerves using RT-PCR. Our double immunofluorescence analysis showed that the majority of GR colocalized with NF200 positive, myelinated, mechanoreceptive A-fibers and, to a lesser extent, with peripheral peptidergic CGRP-immunoreactive sensory nerve fibers in humans and rats. However, the majority of MR colocalized with CGRP in rat as well as human nerve tissue. Importantly, there was an abundant colocalization of MR with the pain signaling molecules TRPV1, CGRP, and Nav1.8 in human as well as rat nerve tissue. The intrathecal application of the GR agonist reduced, and intrathecal administration of an MR agonist increased, mechanical hyperalgesia in rats. Altogether, these findings support a translational approach in mammals that aims to explain the modulation of sensory information through MR and GR activation. Our findings show a significant overlap between humans and rats in MR and GR expression in peripheral sensory neurons.