Toll-like receptor 7 mediates pruritus.
ABSTRACT Toll-like receptors are typically expressed in immune cells to regulate innate immunity. We found that functional Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) was expressed in C-fiber primary sensory neurons and was important for inducing itch (pruritus), but was not necessary for eliciting mechanical, thermal, inflammatory and neuropathic pain in mice. Our results indicate that TLR7 mediates itching and is a potential therapeutic target for anti-itch treatment in skin disease conditions.
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ABSTRACT: An increasing number of studies show that the activation of the innate immune system and inflammatory mechanisms play an important role in the pathogenesis of numerous diseases. The innate immune system is present in almost all multicellular organisms and its activation occurs in response to pathogens or tissue injury via pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) that recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) or danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Intracellular pathways, linking immune and inflammatory response to ion channel expression and function, have been recently identified. Among ion channels, the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a major family of non-selective cation-permeable channels that function as polymodal cellular sensors involved in many physiological and pathological processes.In this review, we summarize current knowledge of interactions between immune cells and PRRs and ion channels of TRP families with PAMPs and DAMPs to provide new insights into the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases. TRP channels have been found to interfere with innate immunity via both nuclear factor-kB and procaspase-1 activation to generate the mature caspase-1 that cleaves pro-interleukin-1ß cytokine into the mature interleukin-1ß.Sensory neurons are also adapted to recognize dangers by virtue of their sensitivity to intense mechanical, thermal and irritant chemical stimuli. As immune cells, they possess many of the same molecular recognition pathways for danger. Thus, they express PRRs including Toll-like receptors 3, 4, 7, and 9, and stimulation by Toll-like receptor ligands leads to induction of inward currents and sensitization in TRPs. In addition, the expression of inflammasomes in neurons and the involvement of TRPs in central nervous system diseases strongly support a role of TRPs in inflammasome-mediated neurodegenerative pathologies. This field is still at its beginning and further studies may be required.Overall, these studies highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting the inflammasomes in proinflammatory, autoinflammatory and metabolic disorders associated with undesirable activation of the inflammasome by using specific TRP antagonists, anti-human TRP monoclonal antibody or different molecules able to abrogate the TRP channel-mediated inflammatory signals.Journal of Neuroinflammation 02/2015; 12(1):21. DOI:10.1186/s12974-015-0239-2 · 4.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and its receptor have been shown to play an important role in the sensation of itch. However, although GRP immunoreactivity has been detected in the spinal dorsal horn, there is debate about whether this originates from primary afferents or local excitatory interneurons. We therefore examined the relation of GRP immunoreactivity to that seen with antibodies that label primary afferent or excitatory interneuron terminals. We tested the specificity of the GRP antibody by preincubating with peptides with which it could potentially cross-react. We also examined tissue from a mouse line in which enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) is expressed under control of the GRP promoter. GRP immunoreactivity was seen in both primary afferent and non-primary glutamatergic axon terminals in the superficial dorsal horn. However, immunostaining was blocked by pre-incubation of the antibody with substance P, which is present at high levels in many nociceptive primary afferents. EGFP+ cells in the GRP-EGFP mouse did not express Pax2, and their axons contained the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2), indicating that they are excitatory interneurons. In most cases, their axons were also GRP-immunoreactive. Multiple-labelling immunocytochemical studies indicated that these cells did not express either of the preprotachykinin peptides, and that they generally lacked protein kinase Cgamma, which is expressed by a subset of the excitatory interneurons in this region. These results show that GRP is expressed by a distinct population of excitatory interneurons in laminae I-II that are likely to be involved in the itch pathway. They also suggest that the GRP immunoreactivity seen in primary afferents in previous studies may have resulted from cross-reaction of the GRP antibody with substance P or the closely related peptide neurokinin A.Molecular Pain 12/2014; 10(1):79. DOI:10.1186/1744-8069-10-79 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is continuing controversy relating to the primary afferent neurotransmitter that conveys itch signals to the spinal cord. Here, we investigated the DRG and spinal cord expression of the putative primary afferent-derived "itch" neurotransmitter, gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP). Using ISH, qPCR, and immunohistochemistry, we conclude that GRP is expressed abundantly in spinal cord, but not in DRG neurons. Titration of the most commonly used GRP antiserum in tissues from wild-type and GRP mutant mice indicates that the antiserum is only selective for GRP at high dilutions. Paralleling these observations, we found that a GRPeGFP transgenic reporter mouse has abundant expression in superficial dorsal horn neurons, but not in the DRG. In contrast to previous studies, neither dorsal rhizotomy nor an intrathecal injection of capsaicin, which completely eliminated spinal cord TRPV1-immunoreactive terminals, altered dorsal horn GRP immunoreactivity. Unexpectedly, however, peripheral nerve injury induced significant GRP expression in a heterogeneous population of DRG neurons. Finally, dual labeling and retrograde tracing studies showed that GRP-expressing neurons of the superficial dorsal horn are predominantly interneurons, that a small number coexpress protein kinase C gamma (PKCγ), but that none coexpress the GRP receptor (GRPR). Our studies support the view that pruritogens engage spinal cord "itch" circuits via excitatory superficial dorsal horn interneurons that express GRP and that likely target GRPR-expressing interneurons. The fact that peripheral nerve injury induced de novo GRP expression in DRG neurons points to a novel contribution of this peptide to pruritoceptive processing in neuropathic itch conditions. Copyright © 2015 Solorzano et al.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 01/2015; 35(2):648-57. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2955-14.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor