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Calcium-sensing receptor regulates Kv7 channels via G i/o protein signalling and modulates excitability of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived nociceptive-like neurons.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Neuropathic pain, a debilitating condition with unmet medical needs, can be characterised as hyperexcitability of nociceptive neurons caused by dysfunction of ion channels. Voltage-gated potassium channels type 7 (Kv7), responsible for maintaining neuronal resting membrane potential and thus excitability, reside under tight control of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is a GPCR that regulates the activity of numerous ion channels, but whether CaSR can control Kv7 channel function has been unexplored until now.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Experiments were conducted in recombinant cell models, mouse dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons and human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived nociceptive-like neurons using patch-clamp electrophysiology and molecular biology techniques.

KEY RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that CaSR is expressed in recombinant cell models, hiPSC-derived nociceptive-like neurons and mouse DRG neurons, and its activation induced depolarisation via Kv7.2/7.3 channel inhibition. The CaSR-Kv7.2/7.3 channel crosslink was mediated via the Gi/o protein-adenylate cyclase-cyclicAMP-protein kinase A signalling cascade. Suppression of CaSR function demonstrated a potential to rescue hiPSC-derived nociceptive-like neurons from algogenic cocktail-induced hyperexcitability.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: This study demonstrates that the CaSR-Kv7.2/7.3 channel crosslink, via a Gi/o protein signalling pathway, effectively regulates neuronal excitability, providing a feasible pharmacological target for neuronal hyperexcitability management in neuropathic pain.

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