Knockdown of L calcium channel subtypes: differential effects in neuropathic pain.
Journal of Neuroscience. 2010-01-20; 30(3): 1073-1085
Read on PubMed
The maintenance of chronic pain states requires the regulation of gene expression, which relies on an influx of calcium. Calcium influx through neuronal L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (LTCs) plays a pivotal role in excitation-transcription coupling, but the involvement of LTCs in chronic pain remains unclear. We used a peptide nucleic acid (transportan 10-PNA conjugates)-based antisense strategy to investigate the role of the LTC subtypes Ca(V)1.2 and Ca(V)1.3 in long-term pain sensitization in a rat model of neuropathy (spinal nerve ligation). Our results demonstrate that specific knockdown of Ca(V)1.2 in the spinal dorsal horn reversed the neuropathy-associated mechanical hypersensitivity and the hyperexcitability and increased responsiveness of dorsal horn neurons. Intrathecal application of anti-Ca(V)1.2 siRNAs confirmed the preceding results. We also demonstrated an upregulation of Ca(V)1.2 mRNA and protein in neuropathic animals concomitant to specific Ca(V)1.2-dependent phosphorylation of the cAMP response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB) transcription factor. Moreover, spinal nerve ligation animals showed enhanced transcription of the CREB/CRE-dependent gene COX-2 (cyclooxygenase 2), which also depends strictly on Ca(V)1.2 activation. We propose that L-type calcium channels in the spinal dorsal horn play an important role in pain processing, and that the maintenance of chronic neuropathic pain depends specifically on channels comprising Ca(V)1.2.