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Previous studies have found that increased expression of Nav1.9 and protein kinase C (PKC) contributes to pain hypersensitivity in a couple of inflammatory pain models. Here we want to observe if PKC can regulate the expression of Nav1.9 in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pain model. A chronic knee joint inflammation model was produced by intra-articular injection of the complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) in rats. Nociceptive behaviors including mechanical, cold, and heat hyperalgesia were examined. The expression of Nav1.9 and PKCα in DRG was detected by a quantitative polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and immunofluorescence. The in vitro and in vivo effects of a PKC activator (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate [PMA]) and a PKC inhibitor (GF-109203X) on the expression of Nav1.9 were examined. Moreover, the effects of PKC modulators on nociceptive behaviors were studied. Increased mechanical, heat, and cold sensitivity was observed 3 to 14 days after CFA injection. Parallel increases in messenger RNA and protein expression of Nav1.9 and PKCα were found. Immunofluorescence experiments found that Nav1.9 was preferentially colocalized with IB4+DRG neurons in RA rats. In cultured DRG neurons, PMA increased Nav1.9 expression while GF-109203X prevented the effect of PMA. PMA increased Nav1.9 expression in naïve rats while GF-109203X decreased Nav1.9 expression in RA rats. In naïve rats, PMA caused mechanical and cold hyperalgesia. On the other hand, GF-109203X attenuated mechanical and cold hyperalgesia in RA-pain model. Nav1.9 might be upregulated by PKCα in DRG, which contributes to pain hypersensitivity in CFA-induced chronic knee joint inflammation model of RA pain. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Qian Bai, Jinping Shao, Jing Cao, Xiuhua Ren, Weihua Cai, Songxue Su, Sanjeeth George, Zhiyong Tan, Weidong Zang, Tieli Dong. Protein kinase C-α upregulates sodium channel Nav1.9 in nociceptive dorsal root ganglion neurons in an inflammatory arthritis pain model of rat. Journal of cellular biochemistry. 2020 Jan;121(1):768-778

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PMID: 31385361

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