The unpleasant sensory and emotional experience of pain is initiated by excitation of primary afferent nociceptive neurons. Nerve damage or inflammation induces changes in nociceptive DRG neurons which contribute to both peripheral and central sensitization of pain-sensitive pathways. Recently, blockade of microRNA synthesis has been found to modulate the response of nociceptive neurons to inflammatory stimuli. However, little is known about the contributions of individual miRNAs to painful conditions. We compared miRNA expression in mouse sensory neurons and focussed on the localisation and control of miR-143. Using miRNA-arrays we compared the microRNA expression profile of intact lumbar DRG with one-day-old DRG cultures and found that nine miRNAs including miR-143 showed lower expression levels in cultures. Subsequent RT-qPCR confirmed array data and in-situ hybridisation localised miR-143 in the cytosol of sensory DRG neurons in situ and in vitro. Analysis of microbead-enriched neuron cultures showed significantly higher expression levels of miR-143 in isolectin B4 (I-B4) binding sensory neurons compared with neurons in the I-B4 negative flow-through fraction. In animal models of peripheral inflammation (injection of Complete Freund's Adjuvant, CFA) and nerve damage (transection of the sciatic nerve), we found that expression levels of miR-143 were significantly lower in DRGs ipsilateral to CFA injection or after nerve damage. Taken together, our data demonstrate for the first time miR-143 expression in nociceptive neurons. Since expression levels of miR-143 were higher in I-B4 positive neurons and declined in response to inflammation but not axotomy, miR-143 could selectively contribute to mRNA regulation in specific populations of nociceptors.
- In-situ hybridisation
- Mouse (C57/Bl6j)