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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1682. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2673.

A role for Piezo2 in EPAC1-dependent mechanical allodynia.

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Molecular Nociception Group, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Aberrant mechanosensation has an important role in different pain states. Here we show that Epac1 (cyclic AMP sensor) potentiation of Piezo2-mediated mechanotransduction contributes to mechanical allodynia. Dorsal root ganglia Epac1 mRNA levels increase during neuropathic pain, and nerve damage-induced allodynia is reduced in Epac1-/- mice. The Epac-selective cAMP analogue 8-pCPT sensitizes mechanically evoked currents in sensory neurons. Human Piezo2 produces large mechanically gated currents that are enhanced by the activation of the cAMP-sensor Epac1 or cytosolic calcium but are unaffected by protein kinase C or protein kinase A and depend on the integrity of the cytoskeleton. In vivo, 8-pCPT induces long-lasting allodynia that is prevented by the knockdown of Epac1 and attenuated by mouse Piezo2 knockdown. Piezo2 knockdown also enhanced thresholds for light touch. Finally, 8-pCPT sensitizes responses to innocuous mechanical stimuli without changing the electrical excitability of sensory fibres. These data indicate that the Epac1-Piezo2 axis has a role in the development of mechanical allodynia during neuropathic pain.

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