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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Sep 22;106(38):16451-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908507106. Epub 2009 Sep 4.

Metalloproteinase MT5-MMP is an essential modulator of neuro-immune interactions in thermal pain stimulation.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular and Laboratorio de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Instituto Universitario de Oncología, Universidad de Oviedo, 33006-Oviedo, Spain.


Peripheral interactions between nociceptive fibers and mast cells contribute to inflammatory pain, but little is known about mechanisms mediating neuro-immune communication. Here we show that metalloproteinase MT5-MMP (MMP-24) is an essential mediator of peripheral thermal nociception and inflammatory hyperalgesia. We report that MT5-MMP is expressed by CGRP-containing peptidergic nociceptors in dorsal root ganglia and that Mmp24-deficient mice display enhanced sensitivity to noxious thermal stimuli under basal conditions. Consistently, mutant peptidergic sensory neurons hyperinnervate the skin, a phenotype that correlates with changes in the regulated cleavage of the cell-cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin. In contrast to basal nociception, Mmp24(-/-) mice do not develop thermal hyperalgesia during inflammation, a phenotype that appears associated with alterations in N-cadherin-mediated cell-cell interactions between mast cells and sensory fibers. Collectively, our findings demonstrate an essential role of MT5-MMP in the development of dermal neuro-immune synapses and suggest that this metalloproteinase may be a target for pain control.

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