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Pain. 2011 Jul;152(7):1649-58. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

GRK2 in sensory neurons regulates epinephrine-induced signalling and duration of mechanical hyperalgesia.

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Laboratory of Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 EA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Epinephrine (EPI) contributes to hyperalgesia in inflammatory and stress conditions. EPI signals via adrenoceptors, which are regulated by G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2). We previously reported that GRK2 is decreased in nociceptors during chronic inflammation. Herein, we investigated whether GRK2 modulates EPI-induced mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia by using GRK2(+/-) mice, which express 50% of the GRK2 protein. We demonstrate for the first time that EPI-induced mechanical as well as thermal hyperalgesia is prolonged to approximately 21 days in GRK2(+/-) mice, whereas it lasts only 3 to 4 days in wild-type mice. Using cell- specific GRK2-deficient mice, we further show that a low level of GRK2 in primary sensory neurons is critical for this prolongation of EPI-induced hyperalgesia. Low GRK2 in microglia had only a small effect on EPI-induced hyperalgesia. Low GRK2 in astrocytes did not alter EPI-induced hyperalgesia. EPI-induced hyperalgesia was prolonged similarly in mice with tamoxifen-induced homozygous or heterozygous deletion of GRK2. In terms of EPI signalling pathways, the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H-89 inhibited EPI-induced mechanical hyperalgesia in wild-type mice, whereas H-89 had no effect in mice with low GRK2 in sensory neurons (SNS-GRK2(+/-) mice). Conversely, intraplantar injection of the protein kinase Cε PKCε inhibitor TAT-PKC(εv1-2) inhibited hyperalgesia in sensory neuron specific (SNS)-GRK2(+/-) mice and not in wild-type mice. These results indicate that low GRK2 in primary sensory neurons switches EPI-induced signalling from a protein kinase A-dependent toward a PKCε-dependent pathway that ultimately mediates prolonged EPI-induced hyperalgesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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