Regulation of transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V1 protein synthesis by the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway in colonic hypersensitivity

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The transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), also known as the capsaicin receptor or vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1), is expressed in nociceptive neurons in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and participates in the transmission of pain. The present study investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms by which TRPV1 was regulated by nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling pathways in colonic hypersensitivity in response to colitis. We found that during colitis TRPV1 protein levels were significantly increased in specifically labeled colonic afferent neurons in both L1 and S1 DRGs. TRPV1 protein up-regulation in DRG was also enhanced by NGF treatment. We then found that TRPV1 protein up-regulation in DRG was regulated by activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway both in vivo and in vitro. Suppression of endogenous PI3K/Akt activity during colitis or NGF treatment with a specific PI3K inhibitor LY294002 reduced TRPV1 protein production in DRG neurons, and also reduced colitis-evoked TRPV1-mediated visceral hypersensitivity tested by hyper-responsiveness to colorectal distention (CRD) and von Frey filament stimulation of abdomen. Further studies showed that TRPV1 mRNA levels in the DRG were not regulated by either colitis or NGF. We then found that an up-regulation of the protein synthesis pathway was involved by which both colitis and NGF caused a PI3K-dependent increase in the phosphorylation level of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein (4E-BP)1. These results suggest a novel mechanism in colonic hypersensitivity which involves PI3K/Akt-mediated TRPV1 protein, not mRNA, up-regulation in primary afferent neurons, likely through activation of the protein synthesis pathways.

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