Neurotrophin-3 suppresses thermal hyperalgesia associated with neuropathic pain and attenuates transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor-1 expression in adult sensory neurons

Tracy D Wilson-Gerwing, Myles V Dmyterko, Douglas W Zochodne, Jayne M Johnston, Valerie M K Verge
Journal of Neuroscience 2005 January 19, 25 (3): 758-67
Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) negatively modulates nerve growth factor (NGF) receptor expression and associated nociceptive phenotype in intact neurons, suggesting a beneficial role in treating aspects of neuropathic pain mediated by NGF. We report that NT-3 is effective at suppressing thermal hyperalgesia associated with chronic constriction injury (CCI); however, NT-3 does not alter the mechanical hypersensitivity that also develops with CCI. Thermal hyperalgesia is critically linked to expression and activation of the capsaicin receptor, transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor-1 (TRPV1). Thus, its modulation by NT-3 after CCI was examined. CCI results in elevated TRPV1 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels in predominantly small-to-medium neurons, with the percentage of neurons expressing TRPV1 remaining unchanged at approximately 56%. Attenuation of thermal hyperalgesia mediated by NT-3 correlates with decreased TRPV1 expression such that only approximately 26% of neurons ipsilateral to CCI expressed detectable TRPV1 mRNA. NT-3 effected a decrease in expression of the activated component of the signaling pathway linked to regulation of TRPV1 expression, phospho-p38 MAPK (Ji et al., 2002), in neurons ipsilateral to CCI. Exogenous NT-3 could both prevent the onset of thermal hyperalgesia and reverse established thermal hyperalgesia and elevated TRPV1 expression 1 week after CCI. Continuous infusion is required for suppression of both thermal hyperalgesia and TRPV1 expression, because removal of NT-3 resulted in a prompt reestablishment of the hyperalgesic state and corresponding CCI-associated TRPV1 phenotype. In conclusion, although NGF drives inflammation-associated thermal hyperalgesia via its regulation of TRPV1 expression, NT-3 is now identified as a potent negative modulator of this state.

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