Contribution of the Suppressor of Variegation 3-9 Homolog 1 in Dorsal Root Ganglia and Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn to Nerve Injury–induced Nociceptive Hypersensitivity

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Abstract

Background:

Peripheral nerve injury–induced gene alterations in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord likely participate in neuropathic pain genesis. Histone methylation gates gene expression. Whether the suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog 1 (SUV39H1), a histone methyltransferase, contributes to nerve injury–induced nociceptive hypersensitivity is unknown.

Methods:

Quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis, Western blot analysis, or immunohistochemistry were carried out to examine the expression of SUV39H1 mRNA and protein in rat DRG and dorsal horn and its colocalization with DRG μ-opioid receptor (MOR). The effects of a SUV39H1 inhibitor (chaetocin) or SUV39H1 siRNA on fifth lumbar spinal nerve ligation (SNL)–induced DRG MOR down-regulation and nociceptive hypersensitivity were examined.

Results:

SUV39H1 was detected in neuronal nuclei of the DRG and dorsal horn. It was distributed predominantly in small DRG neurons, in which it coexpressed with MOR. The level of SUV39H1 protein in both injured DRG and ipsilateral fifth lumbar dorsal horn was time dependently increased after SNL. SNL also produced an increase in the amount of SUV39H1 mRNA in the injured DRG (n = 6/time point). Intrathecal chaetocin or SUV39H1 siRNA as well as DRG or intraspinal microinjection of SUV39H1 siRNA impaired SNL-induced allodynia and hyperalgesia (n = 5/group/treatment). DRG microinjection of SUV39H1 siRNA also restored SNL-induced DRG MOR down-regulation (n = 6/group).

Conclusions:

The findings of this study suggest that SUV39H1 contributes to nerve injury–induced allodynia and hyperalgesia through gating MOR expression in the injured DRG. SUV39H1 may be a potential target for the therapeutic treatment of nerve injury–induced nociceptive hypersensitivity.

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