Tegeder, I. et al. GTP cyclohydrolase and tetrahydrobiopterin regulate pain sensitivity and persistence. Nature Med. 12, 1269-1277

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Nature Medicine (Impact Factor: 27.36). 12/2006; 12(11):1269-77. DOI: 10.1038/nm1490
Source: PubMed


We report that GTP cyclohydrolase (GCH1), the rate-limiting enzyme for tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) synthesis, is a key modulator of peripheral neuropathic and inflammatory pain. BH4 is an essential cofactor for catecholamine, serotonin and nitric oxide production. After axonal injury, concentrations of BH4 rose in primary sensory neurons, owing to upregulation of GCH1. After peripheral inflammation, BH4 also increased in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), owing to enhanced GCH1 enzyme activity. Inhibiting this de novo BH4 synthesis in rats attenuated neuropathic and inflammatory pain and prevented nerve injury-evoked excess nitric oxide production in the DRG, whereas administering BH4 intrathecally exacerbated pain. In humans, a haplotype of the GCH1 gene (population frequency 15.4%) was significantly associated with less pain following diskectomy for persistent radicular low back pain. Healthy individuals homozygous for this haplotype exhibited reduced experimental pain sensitivity, and forskolin-stimulated immortalized leukocytes from haplotype carriers upregulated GCH1 less than did controls. BH4 is therefore an intrinsic regulator of pain sensitivity and chronicity, and the GTP cyclohydrolase haplotype is a marker for these traits.

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    • "Several genetic variants may affect such processes and influence pain sensitivity. These might involve genetic variants important for the expression of GTP cyclohydrolase close to the nerve roots [3], MMP1 in the intervertebral disc [4] or genetic variants in genes relevant to immunological systemic responses such as HLA [5]. In addition, genetic variability in IL1A may reduce the pain threshold after disc herniation [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies indicate that lumbar radicular pain following disc herniation may be associated with release of several pro-inflammatory mediators, including interleukin-1 (IL1). In the present study, we examined how genetic variability in IL1A (rs1800587 C>T), IL1B (rs1143627 T>C) and IL1RN (rs2234677 G>A) influenced the clinical outcome the first year after disc herniation. Patients (n = 258) with lumbar radicular pain due to disc herniation were recruited from two hospitals in Norway. Pain and disability were measured by visual analogue scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) over a 12 month period. The result showed that patients with the IL1A T allele, in combination with the IL1RN A allele had more pain and a slower recovery than other patients (VAS p = 0.049, ODI p = 0.059 rmANOVA; VAS p = 0.003, ODI p = 0.050 one-way ANOVA at 12 months). However, regarding the IL1B/IL1RN genotype, no clear effect on recovery was observed (VAS p = 0.175, ODI p = 0.055 rmANOVA; VAS p = 0.105, ODI p = 0.214 one-way ANOVA at 12 months). The data suggest that the IL1A T/IL1RN A genotype, but not the IL1B T/IL1RN A genotype, may increase the risk of a chronic outcome in patients following disc herniation.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107301. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107301 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Indeed, clustering strategies are increasingly pursued in pain research [29], [45] as they fulfill the assumption that different pain phenotypes are based on different molecular pathomechanisms that are accessible to specific treatments. Reproduction of non-clustered data have often failed (e.g., [46] versus [47]), not necessarily because of non-functionality of the genetic variants. In a randomly chosen sample, the pattern of functional variants that are concomitantly present with the variant of interest can be also as such that a cancelling-out of the effects occurs [48]. "
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    ABSTRACT: TRPA1 ion channels are involved in nociception and are also excited by pungent odorous substances. Based on reported associations of TRPA1 genetics with increased sensitivity to thermal pain stimuli, we therefore hypothesized that this association also exists for increased olfactory sensitivity. Olfactory function and nociception was compared between carriers (n = 38) and non-carriers (n = 43) of TRPA1 variant rs11988795 G>A, a variant known to enhance cold pain perception. Olfactory function was quantified by assessing the odor threshold, odor discrimination and odor identification, and by applying 200-ms pulses of H2S intranasal. Nociception was assessed by measuring pain thresholds to experimental nociceptive stimuli (blunt pressure, electrical stimuli, cold and heat stimuli, and 200-ms intranasal pulses of CO2). Among the 11 subjects with moderate hyposmia, carriers of the minor A allele (n = 2) were underrepresented (34 carriers among the 70 normosmic subjects; p = 0.049). Moreover, carriers of the A allele discriminated odors significantly better than non-carriers (13.1±1.5 versus 12.3±1.6 correct discriminations) and indicated a higher intensity of the H2S stimuli (29.2±13.2 versus 21±12.8 mm VAS, p = 0.006), which, however, could not be excluded to have involved a trigeminal component during stimulation. Finally, the increased sensitivity to thermal pain could be reproduced. The findings are in line with a previous association of a human TRPA1 variant with nociceptive parameters and extend the association to the perception of odorants. However, this addresses mainly those stimulants that involve a trigeminal component whereas a pure olfactory effect may remain disputable. Nevertheless, findings suggest that future TRPA1 modulating drugs may modify the perception of odorants.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e95592. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095592 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Microarrays have been used extensively to investigate transcriptional changes that occur in different parts of the central and peripheral nervous systems [4]. Such studies have led to the discovery of novel pain-related genes, such as the Potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily S member 1, KCNS1 [2], GTP cyclohydrolase 1, GCH1 [6] and the neuropeptide VGF nerve growth factor inducible [7]. In recent years RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) has emerged as an alternative platform for high-throughput transcriptional profiling [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The past decade has seen an abundance of transcriptional profiling studies of preclinical models of persistent pain, predominantly employing microarray technology. In this study we directly compare exon microarrays to RNA-seq and investigate the ability of both platforms to detect differentially expressed genes following nerve injury using the L5 spinal nerve transection model of neuropathic pain. We also investigate the effects of increasing RNA-seq sequencing depth. Finally we take advantage of the "agnostic" approach of RNA-seq to discover areas of expression outside of annotated exons that show marked changes in expression following nerve injury. RNA-seq and microarrays largely agree in terms of the genes called as differentially expressed. However, RNA-seq is able to interrogate a much larger proportion of the genome. It can also detect a greater number of differentially expressed genes than microarrays, across a wider range of fold changes and is able to assign a larger range of expression values to the genes it measures. The number of differentially expressed genes detected increases with sequencing depth. RNA-seq also allows the discovery of a number of genes displaying unusual and interesting patterns of non-exonic expression following nerve injury, an effect that cannot be detected using microarrays. We recommend the use of RNA-seq for future high-throughput transcriptomic experiments in pain studies. RNA-seq allowed the identification of a larger number of putative candidate pain genes than microarrays and can also detect a wider range of expression values in a neuropathic pain model. In addition, RNA-seq can interrogate the whole genome regardless of prior annotations, being able to detect transcription from areas of the genome not currently annotated as exons. Some of these areas are differentially expressed following nerve injury, and may represent novel genes or isoforms. We also recommend the use of a high sequencing depth in order to detect differential expression for genes with low levels of expression.
    Molecular Pain 01/2014; 10(1):7. DOI:10.1186/1744-8069-10-7 · 3.65 Impact Factor
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