Research ArticleNeuroscience

The transcription factor C/EBPβ in the dorsal root ganglion contributes to peripheral nerve trauma–induced nociceptive hypersensitivity

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Sci. Signal.  11 Jul 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 487, eaam5345
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aam5345

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Master regulator of chronic pain

Neuropathic pain is a chronic type of pain that develops after injury to peripheral nerves. It is associated with reduced responses to morphine-related analgesics and decreased abundance of Kv1.2, a voltage-gated potassium channel, and the μ opioid receptor (MOR) due to epigenetic silencing of the genes encoding these proteins in the dorsal root ganglion, a cluster of sensory neurons involved in pain transmission. Li et al. found that the transcription factor C/EBPβ activated the gene encoding the epigenetic silencer in a mouse model of peripheral nerve injury. Silencing C/EBPβ in the dorsal root ganglia decreased pain hypersensitivity and improved morphine analgesia after peripheral nerve injury. In contrast, overexpression of C/EBPβ in the dorsal root ganglia resulted in hypersensitivity to various painful stimuli in the absence of nerve injury. Thus, targeting C/EBPβ may prevent the gene expression changes that lead to the development of neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury.

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