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Solinski, Hans Jürgen; Petermann, Franziska; Rothe, Kathrin; Boekhoff, Ingrid; Gudermann, Thomas and Breit, Andreas (7. March 2013): Human Mas-related G protein-coupled receptors-X1 induce chemokine receptor 2 expression in rat dorsal root ganglia neurons and release of chemokine ligand 2 from the human LAD-2 mast cell line.
In: PLOS ONE 8(3), e58756 [PDF, 961kB]


Primate-specific Mas-related G protein-coupled receptors-X1 (MRGPR-X1) are highly enriched in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons and induce acute pain. Herein, we analyzed effects of MRGPR-X1 on serum response factors (SRF) or nuclear factors of activated T cells (NFAT), which control expression of various markers of chronic pain. Using HEK293, DRG neuron-derived F11 cells and cultured rat DRG neurons recombinantly expressing human MRGPR-X1, we found activation of a SRF reporter gene construct and induction of the early growth response protein-1 via extracellular signal-regulated kinases-1/2 known to play a significant role in the development of inflammatory pain. Furthermore, we observed MRGPR-X1-induced up-regulation of the chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) via NFAT, which is considered as a key event in the onset of neuropathic pain and, so far, has not yet been described for any endogenous neuropeptide. Up-regulation of CCR2 is often associated with increased release of its endogenous agonist chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2). We also found MRGPR-X1-promoted release of CCL2 in a human connective tissue mast cell line endogenously expressing MRGPR-X1. Thus, we provide first evidence to suggest that MRGPR-X1 induce expression of chronic pain markers in DRG neurons and propose a so far unidentified signaling circuit that enhances chemokine signaling by acting on two distinct yet functionally co-operating cell types. Given the important role of chemokine signaling in pain chronification, we propose that interruption of this signaling circuit might be a promising new strategy to alleviate chemokine-promoted pain.

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