The endogenous redox agent L-cysteine induces T-type Ca2+ channel-dependent sensitization of a novel subpopulation of rat peripheral nociceptors.
ABSTRACT Recent studies have demonstrated a previously unrecognized contribution of T-type Ca2+ channels in peripheral sensory neurons to pain sensation (nociception). However, the cellular mechanisms underlying the functions of these channels in nociception are not known. Here, in both acutely dissociated and intact rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, we characterize a novel subpopulation of capsaicin- and isolectin B4-positive nociceptors that also expresses a high density of T-type Ca2+ currents. Using these "T-rich" cells as a model, we demonstrate that the endogenous reducing agent L-cysteine lowers the threshold for nociceptor excitability and induces burst firing by increasing the amplitude of T-type currents and shifting the gating parameters of T-type channels. These findings, which provide the first direct evidence of T-type Ca2+ channel involvement in the control of nociceptor excitability, suggest that endogenous T-type channel agonists may sensitize a unique subpopulation of peripheral nociceptors, consequently influencing pain processing under normal or pathological conditions.
- SourceAvailable from: Slobodan M Todorovic[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: T-type calcium channels (T-channels) play an important role in controlling excitability of nociceptors. We have previously shown that a synthetic series of 5β-reduced steroids induce a voltage-dependent blockade of T-currents in rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) cells in vitro and induce potent analgesia to thermal stimuli in rats in vivo (Mol Pharmacol 66:1223-1235, 2004). Here, we investigated the effects of the endogenous 5β-reduced neuroactive steroid molecule, epipregnanolone [(3β,5β)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one], on peripheral nociception. We used acutely dissociated DRG cells in vitro from adult rats as well as in vivo pain studies in mice and rats to investigate the effects of epipregnanolone on DRG T-channels. We found that epipregnanolone reversibly blocked DRG T-currents with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 2 μM and stabilized the channel in the inactive state. However, sodium, potassium, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-gated ionic currents were not sensitive to the blocking effects of epipregnanolone even at 10 μM. In ensuing in vivo studies, we found that intraplantar (i.pl.) injections of epipregnanolone directly into peripheral receptive fields reduced responses to nociceptive heat stimuli in rats in a dose-dependent fashion. Furthermore, i.pl. epipregnanolone injections effectively reduced responses to peripheral nociceptive thermal and mechanical stimuli in wild-type mice but had no effect on the responses of CaV3.2 knockout mice. We conclude that the inhibition of peripheral CaV3.2 T-channels contributes to the potent analgesic effect of the endogenous steroid epipregnanolone.Psychopharmacology 05/2014; · 3.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Low-voltage-activated (T-type) calcium channels are important regulators of the transmission of nociceptive information in the primary afferent pathway and finding ligands that modulate these channels is a key focus of the drug discovery field. Recently, we characterized a set of novel compounds with mixed cannabinoid receptor/T-type channel blocking activity and examined their analgesic effects in animal models of pain. Here, we have built on these previous findings and synthesized a new series of small organic compounds. We then screened them using whole-cell voltage clamp techniques to identify the most potent T-type calcium channel inhibitors. The two most potent blockers (compound 9 and 10) were then characterized using radioligand binding assays to determine their affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors. The structure-activity relationship and optimization studies have led to the discovery of a new T-type calcium channel blocker, compound 9. Compound 9, was efficacious in mediating analgesia in mouse models of acute inflammatory pain and in reducing tactile allodynia in the partial nerve ligation model. This compound was shown to be ineffective in Cav3.2 T-type calcium channel null mice at therapeutically relevant concentrations and it caused no significant motor deficits in open field tests. Taken together, our data reveal a novel class of compounds whose physiological and therapeutic actions are mediated through block of Cav3.2 calcium channels.ACS Chemical Neuroscience 10/2014; · 4.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Significance: Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively) can intimately control neuronal excitability and synaptic strength by regulating the function of many ion channels. In peripheral sensory neurons, such regulation contributes towards the control of somatosensory processing; therefore, understanding the mechanisms of such regulation is necessary for the development of new therapeutic strategies and for the treatment of sensory dysfunctions, such as chronic pain. Recent Advances: Tremendous progress in deciphering nitric oxide (NO) and ROS signaling in the nervous system has been made in recent decades. This includes the recognition of these molecules as important second messengers and the elucidation of their metabolic pathways and cellular targets. Mounting evidence suggests that these targets include many ion channels which can be directly or indirectly modulated by ROS and NO. However, the mechanisms specific to sensory neurons are still poorly understood. This review will therefore summarize recent findings that highlight the complex nature of the signaling pathways involved in redox/NO regulation of sensory neuron ion channels and excitability; references to redox mechanisms described in other neuron types will be made where necessary. Critical Issues: The complexity and interplay within the redox, NO, and other gasotransmitter modulation of protein function are still largely unresolved. Issues of specificity and intracellular localization of these signaling cascades will also be addressed. Future Directions: Since our understanding of ROS and RNS signaling in sensory neurons is limited, there is a multitude of future directions; one of the most important issues for further study is the establishment of the exact roles that these signaling pathways play in pain processing and the translation of this understanding into new therapeutics. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 04/2014; · 8.20 Impact Factor