[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sigma-1 receptor (sigma1R), an endoplasmic reticulum chaperone protein, is widely distributed and regulates numerous intracellular processes in neurons. Nerve injury alters the structure and function of axotomized dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, contributing to the development of pain. The sigma1R is enriched in the spinal cord and modulates pain after peripheral nerve injury. However, sigma1R expression in the DRG has not been studied. We therefore characterized sigma1R expression in DRGs at baseline and following spinal nerve ligation (SNL) in rats.
Immunohistochemical (IHC) studies in DRG sections show sigma1R in both neuronal somata and satellite glial cells. The punctate distribution of sigma1R in the neuronal cytoplasm suggests expression in the endoplasmic reticulum. When classified by neuronal size, large neurons (>1300 mum) showed higher levels of sigma1R staining than other groups (700-1300 mum, <700 mum). Comparing sigma1R expression in neuronal groups characterized by expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), isolectin-B4 (IB4) and neurofilament-200 (NF-200), we found sigma1R expression in all three neuronal subpopulations, with highest levels of sigma1R expression in the NF-200 group. After SNL, lysates from L5 DRGs that contains axotomized neurons showed decreased sigma1R protein but unaffected transcript level, compared with Control DRGs. IHC images also showed decreased sigma1R protein expression, in SNL L5 DRGs, and to a lesser extent in the neighboring SNL L4 DRGs. Neurons labeled by CGRP and NF-200 showed decreased sigma1R expression in L5 and, to a lesser extent, L4 DRGs. In IB4-labeled neurons, sigma1R expression decreased only in axotomized L5 DRGs. Satellite cells also showed decreased sigma1R expression in L5 DRGs after SNL.
Our data show that sigma1R is present in both sensory neurons and satellite cells in rat DRGs. Expression of sigma1R is down-regulated in axotomized neurons as well as in their accompanying satellite glial cells, while neighboring uninjured neurons show a lesser down-regulation. Therefore, elevated sigma1R expression in neuropathic pain is not an explanation for pain relief after sigma1R blockade. This implies that increased levels of endogenous sigma1R agonists may play a role, and diminished neuroprotection from loss of glial sigma1R may be a contributing factor.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The T-junction of sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is a potential impediment to action potential (AP) propagation towards the central nervous system. Using intracellular recordings from rat DRG neuronal somata during stimulation of the dorsal root, we determined that the maximal rate at which all of 20 APs in a train could successfully transit the T-junction (following frequency) was lowest in C-type units, followed by A-type units with inflected descending limbs of the AP, and highest in A-type units without inflections. In C-type units, following frequency was slower than the rate at which AP trains could be produced in either dorsal root axonal segments or in the soma alone, indicating that the T-junction is a site that acts as a low-pass filter for AP propagation. Following frequency was slower for a train of 20 APs than for 2, indicating that a cumulative process leads to propagation failure. Propagation failure was accompanied by diminished somatic membrane input resistance, and was enhanced when Ca2+-sensitive K+ currents were augmented or when Ca2+-sensitive Cl- currents were blocked. After peripheral nerve injury, following frequencies were increased in axotomized C-type neurons and decreased in axotomized non-inflected A-type neurons. These findings reveal that the T-junction in sensory neurons is a regulator of afferent impulse traffic. Diminished filtering of AP trains at the T-junction of C-type neurons with axotomized peripheral processes could enhance the transmission of activity that is ectopically triggered in a neuroma or the neuronal soma, possibly contributing to pain generation.
The Journal of Physiology 11/2012; · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Currents through voltage-gated Ca²⁺ channels (I(Ca)) may be regulated by cytoplasmic Ca²⁺ levels ([Ca²⁺](c)), producing Ca²⁺-dependent inactivation (CDI) or facilitation (CDF). Since I(Ca) regulates sensory neuron excitability, altered CDI or CDF could contribute to pain generation after peripheral nerve injury. We explored this by manipulating [Ca²⁺](c) while recording I(Ca) in rat sensory neurons. In uninjured neurons, elevating [Ca²⁺](c) with a conditioning prepulse (-15 mV, 2 s) inactivated I(Ca) measured during subsequent test pulses (-15 mV, 5 ms). This inactivation was Ca²⁺-dependent (CDI), since it was decreased with elimination of Ca²⁺ influx by depolarization to above the I(Ca) reversal potential, with high intracellular Ca²⁺ buffering (EGTA 10 mm or BAPTA 20 mm), and with substitution of Ba²⁺ for extracellular Ca²⁺, revealing a residual voltage-dependent inactivation. At longer latencies after conditioning (>6 s), I(Ca) recovered beyond baseline. This facilitation also proved to be Ca²⁺-dependent (CDF) using the protocols limiting cytoplasmic Ca²⁺ elevation. Ca²⁺/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) blockers applied by bath (KN-93, myristoyl-AIP) or expressed selectively in the sensory neurons (AIP) reduced CDF, unlike their inactive analogues. Protein kinase C inhibition (chelerythrine) had no effect. Selective blockade of N-type Ca²⁺ channels eliminated CDF, whereas L-type channel blockade had no effect. Following nerve injury, CDI was unaffected, but CDF was eliminated in axotomized neurons. Excitability of sensory neurons in intact ganglia from control animals was diminished after a similar conditioning pulse, but this regulation was eliminated by injury. These findings indicate that I(Ca) in sensory neurons is subject to both CDI and CDF, and that hyperexcitability following injury-induced loss of CDF may result from diminished CaMKII activity.
Journal of Neuroscience 08/2012; 32(34):11737-49. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA) is the principal means by which sensory neurons expel Ca2+ and thereby regulate the concentration of cytoplasmic Ca2+ and the processes controlled by this critical second messenger. We have previously found that painful nerve injury decreases resting cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels and activity-induced cytoplasmic Ca2+ accumulation in axotomized sensory neurons. Here we examine the contribution of PMCA after nerve injury in a rat model of neuropathic pain.
PMCA function was isolated in dissociated sensory neurons by blocking intracellular Ca2+ sequestration with thapsigargin, and cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration was recorded with Fura-2 fluorometry. Compared to control neurons, the rate at which depolarization-induced Ca2+ transients resolved was increased in axotomized neurons after spinal nerve ligation, indicating accelerated PMCA function. Electrophysiological recordings showed that blockade of PMCA by vanadate prolonged the action potential afterhyperpolarization, and also decreased the rate at which neurons could fire repetitively.
We found that PMCA function is elevated in axotomized sensory neurons, which contributes to neuronal hyperexcitability. Accelerated PMCA function in the primary sensory neuron may contribute to the generation of neuropathic pain, and thus its modulation could provide a new pathway for peripheral treatment of post-traumatic neuropathic pain.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stably expressed housekeeping genes (HKGs) are necessary for standardization of transcript measurement by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Peripheral nerve injury disrupts expression of numerous genes in sensory neurons, but the stability of conventional HKGs has not been tested in this context. We examined the stability of candidate HKGs during nerve injury, including the commonly used 18S ribosomal RNA, β-tubulin I and β-tubulin III, actin, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase 1 (HPRT1), and mitogen-activated protein kinase 6 (MAPK6). Total RNA for cDNA synthesis was isolated from dorsal root ganglia of rats at 3, 7, and 21 days following either skin incision alone or spinal nerve ligation, after which the axotomized and adjacent ganglia were analyzed separately. Relative stability of HKGs was determined using statistical algorithms geNorm and NormFinder. Both analyses identified MAPK6 and GAPDH as the two most stable HKGs for normalizing gene expression for qRT-PCR analysis in the context of peripheral nerve injury. Our findings indicate that a prior analysis of HKG expression levels is important for accurate normalization of gene expression in models of nerve injury.
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 08/2011; 46(3):497-504. · 2.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Painful nerve injury disrupts levels of cytoplasmic and stored Ca(2+) in sensory neurons. Since influx of Ca(2+) may occur through store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) as well as voltage- and ligand-activated pathways, we sought confirmation of SOCE in sensory neurons from adult rats and examined whether dysfunction of SOCE is a possible pathogenic mechanism. Dorsal root ganglion neurons displayed a fall in resting cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration when bath Ca(2+) was withdrawn, and a subsequent elevation of cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration (40 ± 5 nm) when Ca(2+) was reintroduced, which was amplified by store depletion with thapsigargin (1 μm), and was significantly reduced by blockers of SOCE, but was unaffected by antagonists of voltage-gated membrane Ca(2+) channels. We identified the underlying inwardly rectifying Ca(2+)-dependent I(CRAC) (Ca(2+) release activated current), as well as a large thapsigargin-sensitive inward current activated by withdrawal of bath divalent cations, representing SOCE. Molecular components of SOCE, specifically STIM1 and Orai1, were confirmed in sensory neurons at both the transcript and protein levels. Axonal injury by spinal nerve ligation (SNL) elevated SOCE and I(CRAC). However, SOCE was comparable in injured and control neurons when stores were maximally depleted by thapsigargin, and STIM1 and Orai1 levels were not altered by SNL, showing that upregulation of SOCE after SNL is driven by store depletion. Blockade of SOCE increased neuronal excitability in control and injured neurons, whereas injured neurons showed particular dependence on SOCE for maintaining levels of cytoplasmic and stored Ca(2+), which indicates a compensatory role for SOCE after injury.
Journal of Neuroscience 03/2011; 31(10):3536-49. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Bcl-2 and MMP-9 promote the pathogenesis and progression of MB. The expression of both bcl-2 and MMP-9 is regulated by the transcription factor NF-kappaB. Curcumin, a natural food additive, has a potent anti-proliferative effect, presumably mediated through NF-kappaB suppression. The tumor-suppressing effects of curcumin are well documented, however, its effect on MB is unknown. Our objectives were to: a) examine the effect of curcumin on MB cell proliferation and apoptosis; b) characterize the mechanism that mediates the effect of curcumin; c) examine the effects of curcumin on MB cell migration. We report that curcumin inhibited cell proliferation and blocked clonogenicity of MB cells. Furthermore, curcumin down-regulated bcl-2 and bcl(x)l, leading to caspase-mediated cell death. Finally, curcumin blocked migration of MB cells. Thus, we propose developing curcumin as a novel therapeutic agent for MB.
Anticancer research 02/2010; 30(2):499-504. · 1.71 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently reported that estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), even in absence of estrogen (E2), plays a critical role in lactotroph homeostasis. The anti-estrogen ICI 182780 (ICI), but not tamoxifen or raloxifene, rapidly promoted the degradation of ERalpha, and inhibited cell proliferation. However, all three ER antagonists suppressed PRL release, suggesting that receptor occupation is sufficient to inhibit prl gene expression whereas receptor degradation is required to suppress lactotroph proliferation. In this study our objective was to determine whether ERalpha degradation versus occupation, differentially modulates the biological outcome of anti-estrogens.
Using the rat lactotroph cell line, GH3 cells, we report that ICI induced proteosome mediated degradation of ERalpha. In contrast, an ERalpha specific antagonist, MPP, that does not promote degradation of ERalpha, did not inhibit cell proliferation. Further, ICI, but not MPP, abolished anchorage independent growth of GH3 cells. Yet, both ICI and MPP were equally effective in suppressing prl expression and release, as well as ERE-mediated transcriptional activity.
Taken together, our results demonstrate that in lactotrophs, ERalpha degradation results in decreased cell proliferation, whereas ERalpha occupation by an antagonist that does not promote degradation of ERalpha is sufficient to inhibit prl expression.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(4):e10060. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pituitary corticotroph tumors secrete excess adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) resulting in Cushing's disease (CD). Standard treatment includes surgery and, if not successful, radiotherapy, both of which have undesirable side effects and frequent recurrence of the tumor. Pharmacotherapy using PPARgamma agonists, dopamine receptor agonists, retinoic acid or somatostatin analogs is still experimental. Curcumin, a commonly used food additive in South Asian cooking, has potent growth inhibitory effects on cell proliferation. Our laboratory recently demonstrated that curcumin inhibited growth and induced apoptosis in prolactin- and growth hormone-producing tumor cells. Subsequently, Schaaf et.al. confirmed our findings and also showed the in vivo effectiveness of curcumin to suppress pituitary tumorigenesis. However the molecular mechanism that mediate this effect of curcumin are still unknown.
Using the mouse corticotroph tumor cells, AtT20 cells, we report that curcumin had a robust, irreversible inhibitory effect on cell proliferation and clonogenic property. The curcumin-induced growth inhibition was accompanied by decreased NFkappaB activity. Further, curcumin down-regulated the pro-survival protein Bcl-xL, depolarized the mitochondrial membrane, increased PARP cleavage, which led to apoptotic cell death. Finally, curcumin had a concentration-dependent suppressive effect on ACTH secretion from AtT20 cells.
The ability of curcumin to inhibit NFkappaB and induce apoptosis in pituitary corticotroph tumor cells leads us to propose developing it as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of CD.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(4):e9893. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both estrogen (E2) and EGF regulate lactotrophs, and we recently demonstrated that EGF phosphorylates S118 on estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) and requires ERalpha to stimulate prolactin (PRL) release. However, the interactions between ligand-occupied ERalpha and activated ErbB1 and its impact on lactotroph function are unknown. Using rat GH3 lactotrophs, we found that both E2 and EGF independently stimulated proliferation and PRL gene expression. Furthermore, their combination resulted in an enhanced stimulatory effect on both cell proliferation and PRL gene expression. Inhibitors of ER as well as ErbB1 blocked the combined effects of E2 and EGF. Pretreatment with UO126 abolished the combined effects, demonstrating Erk1/2 requirement. Although bidirectionality in ER-ErbB1 cross-talk is a well-accepted paradigm, interestingly in lactotrophs, ErbB1 kinase inhibitor failed to block the effect of E2 on proliferation and stimulation of PRL gene expression, suggesting that ER does not require ErbB1 to mediate its effects. Furthermore, E2 did not affect the ability of EGF to induce c-Fos expression or modulate AP-1 activity. However, both E2 and EGF combine to enhance S118 phosphorylation of ERalpha, leading to enhanced E2-mediated estrogen response element transactivation. Taken together, our results suggest that, in lactotrophs, activated ErbB1 phosphorylates ERalpha to enhance the stimulatory effect of E2, thereby providing the molecular basis by which EGF amplifies the response of E2.
AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 06/2009; 297(2):E331-9. · 4.51 Impact Factor