Erasing injury-related cortical synaptic potentiation as a new treatment for chronic pain.

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Center for the Study of Pain, University of Toronto, Medical Science Building, Room no. 3342, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8, Canada.
Journal of Molecular Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.77). 05/2011; 89(9):847-55. DOI: 10.1007/s00109-011-0768-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Synaptic plasticity in the spinal cord and the cortex is believed to be important for the amplification of painful information in chronic pain conditions. The investigation of molecular mechanism responsible for maintaining injury-related plastic changes, such as through the study of long-term potentiation in these structures, provides potential novel targets for designing new medicine for chronic pain. Recent studies using integrative neurobiological approaches demonstrate that protein kinase M zeta (PKMζ) maintains pain-induced persistent changes in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and inhibiting PKMζ by ζ-pseudosubstrate inhibitory peptide produces analgesic effects in animal models of chronic pain. We propose that targeting PKMζ, or its up- or downstream signaling proteins, in the ACC may provide novel clinical treatment for chronic pain.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic pain remains a significant clinical problem despite substantial advances in our understanding of how persistent nociceptor stimulation drives plasticity in the CNS. A major theme that has emerged in this area of work is the strong similarity between plasticity involved in learning and memory in CNS regions such as cortex and hippocampus with mechanisms underlying chronic pain development and maintenance in the spinal dorsal horn and other CNS areas such as anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). We, and others have recently implicated an atypical PKC (aPKC), called PKMzeta, in the maintenance of pain plasticity based on biochemical assays and the use of a peptide pseudosubstrate inhibitor called ZIP. These studies indicate remarkable parallels between the potential role of PKMzeta as a key molecule for the maintenance of long-term memory and long-term potentiation (LTP) and the maintenance of a chronic pain state. On the other hand, very recent studies have disputed the specificity of ZIP and called into question the role of PKMzeta as a memory maintenance molecule. Here we critically review the evidence that PKMzeta might represent a new target for the reversal of certain chronic pain states. Furthermore, we consider whether ZIP might have other aPKC or even non-aPKC targets and the significance of such off-target effects for evaluating maintenance mechanisms of chronic pain. We conclude that, current controversies aside, utilization of ZIP as a tool to interrogate maintenance mechanisms of chronic pain and further investigations into the potential role of PKMzeta, and other aPKCs, in pain plasticity are likely to lead to further insights with the potential to unravel the enigma that is the disease of chronic pain.
    Molecular Pain 02/2013; 9(1):6. · 3.77 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To investigate the effects of ZD 7288, a hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channel blocker, on rats with chronic visceral pain. Rats with visceral hypersensitivity were generated using neonatal colon irritation during postnatal days 8-15 as described previously. Visceral hypersensitivity was evaluated using electromyographic (EMG) responses of abdominal external oblique muscles to 20-80 mmHg colorectal distentions (CRD). Abdominal withdrawal reflex (AWR) scores and pain thresholds were also detected in adult rats. Different doses of ZD 7288 (25, 50, and 100 nmol/L) were intrathecally administered in rats to study the role of spinal HCN channel in chronic visceral hypersensitivity. EMG responses to 20-80 mmHg CRD and AWR scores under 20-60 mmHg CRD significantly increased in rats with visceral hypersensitivity compared to control rats (P < 0.05). The pain threshold in rats with visceral hypersensitivity significantly decreased compared to control rats (P < 0.05). Treatment with 50-100 nmol/L ZD 7288 significantly inhibited EMG responses (16%-62%, 80-20 mmHg CRD, P < 0.05) and AWR scores (24%-37%, 40-20 mmHg CRD, P < 0.05; 12%-61%, 80-20 mmHg CRD, P < 0.05, respectively), and significantly increased pain thresholds (32%-77%, P < 0.05). Spinal HCN channels may play an important role in chronic visceral hypersensitivity.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 02/2014; 20(8):2091-7. · 2.55 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In contrast to protein kinases that participate in long-term potentiation (LTP) induction and memory consolidation, the autonomously active atypical protein kinase C isoform, protein kinase Mzeta (PKMζ), functions in the core molecular mechanism of LTP maintenance and long-term memory storage. Here, using multiple complementary techniques for light and electron microscopic immunolocalization, we present the first detailed characterization of the cellular and subcellular distribution of PKMζ in rat hippocampus and neocortex. We find that PKMζ is widely expressed in forebrain with prominent immunostaining in hippocampal and neocortical grey matter, and weak label in white matter. In hippocampal and cortical pyramidal cells, PKMζ expression is predominantly somatodendritic, and electron microscopy highlights the kinase at postsynaptic densities and in clusters within spines. In addition, nuclear label and striking punctate immunopositive structures in a paranuclear and dendritic distribution are seen by confocal microscopy, occasionally at dendritic bifurcations. PKMζ immunoreactive granules are observed by electron microscopy in cell bodies and dendrites, including endoplasmic reticulum. The widespread distribution of PKMζ in nuclei, nucleoli and endoplasmic reticulum suggests potential roles of this kinase in cell-wide mechanisms involving gene expression, biogenesis of ribosomes and new protein synthesis. The localization of PKMζ within postsynaptic densities and spines suggests sites where the kinase stores information during LTP maintenance and long-term memory.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130140. · 6.23 Impact Factor


Available from