G9a participates in nerve injury-induced Kcna2 downregulation in primary sensory neurons.
ABSTRACT: Nerve injury-induced downregulation of voltage-gated potassium channel subunit Kcna2 in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is critical for DRG neuronal excitability and neuropathic pain genesis. However, how nerve injury causes this downregulation is still elusive. Euchromatic histone-lysine N-methyltransferase 2, also known as G9a, methylates histone H3 on lysine residue 9 to predominantly produce a dynamic histone dimethylation, resulting in condensed chromatin and gene transcriptional repression. We showed here that blocking nerve injury-induced increase in G9a rescued Kcna2 mRNA and protein expression in the axotomized DRG and attenuated the development of nerve injury-induced pain hypersensitivity. Mimicking this increase decreased Kcna2 mRNA and protein expression, reduced Kv current, and increased excitability in the DRG neurons and led to spinal cord central sensitization and neuropathic pain-like symptoms. G9a mRNA is co-localized with Kcna2 mRNA in the DRG neurons. These findings indicate that G9a contributes to neuropathic pain development through epigenetic silencing of Kcna2 in the axotomized DRG.
Project description:Neuropathic pain is a refractory disease characterized by maladaptive changes in gene transcription and translation in the sensory pathway. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as new players in gene regulation, but how lncRNAs operate in the development of neuropathic pain is unclear. Here we identify a conserved lncRNA, named Kcna2 antisense RNA, for a voltage-dependent potassium channel mRNA, Kcna2, in first-order sensory neurons of rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG). Peripheral nerve injury increased Kcna2 antisense RNA expression in injured DRG through activation of myeloid zinc finger protein 1, a transcription factor that binds to the Kcna2 antisense RNA gene promoter. Mimicking this increase downregulated Kcna2, reduced total voltage-gated potassium current, increased excitability in DRG neurons and produced neuropathic pain symptoms. Blocking this increase reversed nerve injury-induced downregulation of DRG Kcna2 and attenuated development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. These findings suggest endogenous Kcna2 antisense RNA as a therapeutic target for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
Project description:Nerve injury induces changes in gene transcription in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, which may contribute to nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain. DNA methylation represses gene expression. Here, we report that peripheral nerve injury increases expression of the DNA methyltransferase DNMT3a in the injured DRG neurons via the activation of the transcription factor octamer transcription factor 1. Blocking this increase prevents nerve injury-induced methylation of the voltage-dependent potassium (Kv) channel subunit Kcna2 promoter region and rescues Kcna2 expression in the injured DRG and attenuates neuropathic pain. Conversely, in the absence of nerve injury, mimicking this increase reduces the Kcna2 promoter activity, diminishes Kcna2 expression, decreases Kv current, increases excitability in DRG neurons and leads to spinal cord central sensitization and neuropathic pain symptoms. These findings suggest that DNMT3a may contribute to neuropathic pain by repressing Kcna2 expression in the DRG.
Project description:Neuropathic pain is a debilitating clinical problem and difficult to treat. Nerve injury causes a long-lasting reduction in K(+) channel expression in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), but little is known about the epigenetic mechanisms involved. We found that nerve injury increased dimethylation of Lys9 on histone H3 (H3K9me2) at Kcna4, Kcnd2, Kcnq2 and Kcnma1 promoters but did not affect levels of DNA methylation on these genes in DRGs. Nerve injury increased activity of euchromatic histone-lysine N-methyltransferase-2 (G9a), histone deacetylases and enhancer of zeste homolog-2 (EZH2), but only G9a inhibition consistently restored K(+) channel expression. Selective knockout of the gene encoding G9a in DRG neurons completely blocked K(+) channel silencing and chronic pain development after nerve injury. Remarkably, RNA sequencing analysis revealed that G9a inhibition not only reactivated 40 of 42 silenced genes associated with K(+) channels but also normalized 638 genes down- or upregulated by nerve injury. Thus G9a has a dominant function in transcriptional repression of K(+) channels and in acute-to-chronic pain transition after nerve injury.
Project description:Paralleling the activation of dorsal horn microglia after peripheral nerve injury is a significant expansion and proliferation of macrophages around injured sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Here we demonstrate a critical contribution of DRG macrophages, but not those at the nerve injury site, to both the initiation and maintenance of the mechanical hypersensitivity that characterizes the neuropathic pain phenotype. In contrast to the reported sexual dimorphism in the microglial contribution to neuropathic pain, depletion of DRG macrophages reduces nerve injury-induced mechanical hypersensitivity and expansion of DRG macrophages in both male and female mice. However, fewer macrophages are induced in the female mice and deletion of colony-stimulating factor 1 from sensory neurons, which prevents nerve injury-induced microglial activation and proliferation, only reduces macrophage expansion in male mice. Finally, we demonstrate molecular cross-talk between axotomized sensory neurons and macrophages, revealing potential peripheral DRG targets for neuropathic pain management.
Project description:Neuropathic pain genesis is related to gene alterations in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) after peripheral nerve injury. Transcription factors control gene expression. In this study, we investigated whether octamer transcription factor 1 (OCT1), a transcription factor, contributed to neuropathic pain caused by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. Chronic constriction injury produced a time-dependent increase in the level of OCT1 protein in the ipsilateral L4/5 DRG, but not in the spinal cord. Blocking this increase through microinjection of OCT1 siRNA into the ipsilateral L4/5 DRG attenuated the initiation and maintenance of CCI-induced mechanical allodynia, heat hyperalgesia, and cold allodynia and improved morphine analgesia after CCI, without affecting basal responses to acute mechanical, heat, and cold stimuli as well as locomotor functions. Mimicking this increase through microinjection of recombinant adeno-associated virus 5 harboring full-length OCT1 into the unilateral L4/5 DRG led to marked mechanical allodynia, heat hyperalgesia, and cold allodynia in naive rats. Mechanistically, OCT1 participated in CCI-induced increases in Dnmt3a mRNA and its protein and DNMT3a-mediated decreases in Oprm1 and Kcna2 mRNAs and their proteins in the injured DRG. These findings indicate that OCT1 may participate in neuropathic pain at least in part by transcriptionally activating Dnmt3a and subsequently epigenetic silencing of Oprm1 and Kcan2 in the DRG. OCT1 may serve as a potential target for therapeutic treatments against neuropathic pain.
Project description:Changes in gene transcription in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) after nerve trauma contribute to the genesis of neuropathic pain. We report that peripheral nerve trauma caused by chronic constriction injury (CCI) increased the abundance of the transcription factor C/EBP? (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein ?) in the DRG. Blocking this increase mitigated the development and maintenance of CCI-induced mechanical, thermal, and cold pain hypersensitivities without affecting basal responses to acute pain and locomotor activity. Conversely, mimicking this increase produced hypersensitivity to mechanical, thermal, or cold pain. In the ipsilateral DRG, C/EBP? promoted a decrease in the abundance of the voltage-gated potassium channel subunit Kv1.2 and ? opioid receptor (MOR) at the mRNA and protein levels, which would be predicted to increase excitability in the ipsilateral DRG neurons and reduce the efficacy of morphine analgesia. These effects required C/EPB?-mediated transcriptional activation of Ehmt2 (euchromatic histone-lysine N-methyltransferase 2), which encodes G9a, an epigenetic silencer of the genes encoding Kv1.2 and MOR. Blocking the increase in C/EBP? in the DRG improved morphine analgesia after CCI. These results suggest that C/EBP? is an endogenous initiator of neuropathic pain and could be a potential target for the prevention and treatment of this disorder.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Dysregulation of voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s) is believed to play a major role in nerve fiber hyperexcitability associated with neuropathic pain. A complete transcriptional characterization of the different isoforms of Na(v)s under normal and pathological conditions had never been performed on mice, despite their widespread use in pain research. Na(v)s mRNA levels in mouse dorsal root ganglia (DRG) were studied in the spared nerve injury (SNI) and spinal nerve ligation (SNL) models of neuropathic pain. In the SNI model, injured and non-injured neurons were intermingled in lumbar DRG, which were pooled to increase the tissue available for experiments. RESULTS: A strong downregulation was observed for every Na(v)s isoform expressed except for Na(v)1.2; even Na(v)1.3, known to be upregulated in rat neuropathic pain models, was lower in the SNI mouse model. This suggests differences between these two species. In the SNL model, where the cell bodies of injured and non-injured fibers are anatomically separated between different DRG, most Na(v)s were observed to be downregulated in the L5 DRG receiving axotomized fibers. Transcription was then investigated independently in the L3, L4 and L5 DRG in the SNI model, and an important downregulation of many Na(v)s isoforms was observed in the L3 DRG, suggesting the presence of numerous injured neurons there after SNI. Consequently, the proportion of axotomized neurons in the L3, L4 and L5 DRG after SNI was characterized by studying the expression of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3). Using this marker of nerve injury confirmed that most injured fibers find their cell bodies in the L3 and L4 DRG after SNI in C57BL/6 J mice; this contrasts with their L4 and L5 DRG localization in rats. The spared sural nerve, through which pain hypersensitivity is measured in behavioral studies, mostly projects into the L4 and L5 DRG. CONCLUSIONS: The complex regulation of Na(v)s, together with the anatomical rostral shift of the DRG harboring injured fibers in C57BL/6 J mice, emphasize that caution is necessary and preliminary anatomical experiments should be carried out for gene and protein expression studies after SNI in mouse strains.
Project description:Peripheral nerve injury-induced changes in gene transcription and translation in primary sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) are considered to contribute to neuropathic pain genesis. Transcription factors control gene expression. Peripheral nerve injury increases the expression of myeloid zinc finger protein 1 (MZF1), a transcription factor, and promotes its binding to the voltage-gated potassium 1.2 (Kv1.2) antisense (AS) RNA gene in the injured DRG. However, whether DRG MZF1 participates in neuropathic pain is still unknown. Here, we report that blocking the nerve injury-induced increase of DRG MZF1 through microinjection of MZF1 siRNA into the injured DRG attenuated the initiation and maintenance of mechanical, cold, and thermal pain hypersensitivities in rats with chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, without affecting locomotor functions and basal responses to acute mechanical, heat, and cold stimuli. Mimicking the nerve injury-induced increase of DRG MZF1 through microinjection of recombinant adeno-associated virus 5 expressing full-length MZF1 into the DRG produced significant mechanical, cold, and thermal pain hypersensitivities in naive rats. Mechanistically, MZF1 participated in CCI-induced reductions in Kv1.2 mRNA and protein and total Kv current and the CCI-induced increase in neuronal excitability through MZF1-triggered Kv1.2 AS RNA expression in the injured DRG neurons. MZF1 is likely an endogenous trigger of neuropathic pain and might serve as a potential target for preventing and treating this disorder.
Project description:BACKGROUND: IL-6 is a typical injury-induced mediator. Together with its receptors, IL-6 contributes to both induction and maintenance of neuropathic pain deriving from changes in activity of primary sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). We used in situ hybridization to provide evidence of IL-6 and IL-6 receptors (IL-6R and gp130) synthesis in DRG along the neuraxis after unilateral chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve as an experimental model of neuropathic pain. RESULTS: All rats operated upon to create unilateral CCI displayed mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in ipsilateral hind paws. Contralateral hind paws and forepaws of both sides exhibited only temporal and nonsignificant changes of sensitivity. Very low levels of IL-6 and IL-6R mRNAs were detected in naïve DRG. IL-6 mRNA was bilaterally increased not only in DRG neurons but also in satellite glial cells (SGC) activated by unilateral CCI. In addition to IL-6 mRNA, substantial increase of IL-6R mRNA expression occurred in DRG neurons and SGC following CCI, while the level of gp130 mRNA remained similar to that of DRG from naïve rats. CONCLUSIONS: Here we evidence for the first time increased synthesis of IL-6 and IL-6R in remote cervical DRG nonassociated with the nerve injury. Our results suggest that unilateral CCI of the sciatic nerve induced not only bilateral elevation of IL-6 and IL-6R mRNAs in L4-L5 DRG but also their propagation along the neuraxis to remote cervical DRG as a general neuroinflammatory reaction of the nervous system to local nerve injury without correlation with signs of neuropathic pain. Possible functional involvement of IL-6 signaling is discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Nerve injury-triggered hyperexcitability in primary sensory neurons is considered a major source of chronic neuropathic pain. The hyperexcitability, in turn, is thought to be related to transcriptional switching in afferent cell somata. Analysis using expression microarrays has revealed that many genes are regulated in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) following axotomy. But which contribute to pain phenotype versus other nerve injury-evoked processes such as nerve regeneration? Using the L5 spinal nerve ligation model of neuropathy we examined differential changes in gene expression in the L5 (and L4) DRGs in five mouse strains with contrasting susceptibility to neuropathic pain. We sought genes for which the degree of regulation correlates with strain-specific pain phenotype. RESULTS: In an initial experiment six candidate genes previously identified as important in pain physiology were selected for in situ hybridization to DRG sections. Among these, regulation of the Na+ channel alpha subunit Scn11a correlated with levels of spontaneous pain behavior, and regulation of the cool receptor Trpm8 correlated with heat hypersensibility. In a larger scale experiment, mRNA extracted from individual mouse DRGs was processed on Affymetrix whole-genome expression microarrays. Overall, 2552 +/- 477 transcripts were significantly regulated in the axotomized L5DRG 3 days postoperatively. However, in only a small fraction of these was the degree of regulation correlated with pain behavior across strains. Very few genes in the "uninjured" L4DRG showed altered expression (24 +/- 28). CONCLUSION: Correlational analysis based on in situ hybridization provided evidence that differential regulation of Scn11a and Trpm8 contributes to across-strain variability in pain phenotype. This does not, of course, constitute evidence that the others are unrelated to pain. Correlational analysis based on microarray data yielded a larger "look-up table" of genes whose regulation likely contributes to pain variability. While this list is enriched in genes of potential importance for pain physiology, and is relatively free of the bias inherent in the candidate gene approach, additional steps are required to clarify which transcripts on the list are in fact of functional importance.