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Pain Rep. 2016 Sep;1(3). pii: e573. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000573.

Identification of an epidermal keratinocyte AMPA glutamate receptor involved in dermatopathies associated with sensory abnormalities.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University Pain Center, St Louis, MO, USA; Laboratory of Neuropharmacology, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
2
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY, USA.
3
Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University Pain Center, St Louis, MO, USA.
4
Department of Dermatology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
5
Transpharmation LTD, London, UK.
6
Integrated Tissue Dynamics, Rensselaer, NY, USA.
7
Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
8
Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University Pain Center, St Louis, MO, USA; Department of Neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine, MO, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Epidermal keratinocytes are increasingly recognized as active participants in the sensory transduction of itch and pain, processes known to involve primary afferent glutamatergic neurons. However the role of keratinocyte glutamate signaling in sensory functioning is not fully understood. Here, we present the observation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid type glutamate receptors (AMPAR) in epidermal keratinocytes.

METHODS:

Immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization analyses were conducted to assess the expression of AMPAR subunits in epidermal keratinocytes in mouse and human skin samples, and in organotypic cultures of human keratinocytes. In addition, RTPCR further confirmed the expression of GluA4-containing AMPAR in epidermal keratinocytes.

RESULTS:

We found prominent immunolabeling (IL) for the GluA4 subunit of AMPAR in keratinocytes of glabrous and hairy skin of mouse epidermis, as well as in human epidermal keratinocytes. RTPCR confirmed Gria4 transcript expression in epidermal mouse keratinocytes. In addition, expression of GRIA4 mRNA was confirmed in epidermal human keratinocytes by in situ hybridization. Immunohistochemical studies conducted in human skin biopsies from patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) demonstrate that keratinocyte expression of GluA4 can be altered under pathological conditions. Moreover, a decrease of GluA4 expression was observed in organotypic cultures of human keratinocytes after direct application of algogenic agents.

CONCLUSIONS:

We provide evidence that GluA4-containing AMPAR are expressed in epidermal keratinocytes, that human pruritic and painful dermatopathologies have alterations in the keratinocyte expression levels of GluA4-containing AMPAR, and that itch and pain producing substances can directly regulate their production in keratinocytes.

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