Acid-Sensing Ion Channels in Postoperative Pain-
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E. Deval, J. Noël, X. Gasull, A. Delaunay, A. Alloui et al.

Unité Mixte de Recherche 6097 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne, France.

The Journal of Neuroscience

Iatrogenic pain consecutive to a large number of surgical procedures has become a growing health concern. The etiology and pathophysiology of postoperative pain are still poorly understood, but hydrogen ions appear to be important in this process. We have investigated the role of peripheral acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), which form depolarizing channels activated by extracellular protons, in a rat model of postoperative pain (i.e., hindpaw skin/muscle incision). We report high levels of ASIC-type currents (_ 77%) in sensory neurons innervating the hindpaw muscles, with a prevalence of ASIC3-like currents. The ASIC3 protein is largely expressed in lumbar DRG neurons innervating the plantar muscle, and its mRNA and protein levels are increased by plantar incision 24 h after surgery. Pharmacological inhibition of ASIC3 channels with the specific toxin APETx2 or in vivo knockdown of ASIC3 subunit by small interfering RNA led to a significant reduction of postoperative spontaneous, thermal, and postural pain behaviors (spontaneous flinching, heat hyperalgesia, and weight bearing). ASIC3 appears to have an important role in deep tissue but also affects prolonged pain evoked by skin incision alone. The specific homomeric ASIC1a blocker PcTx1 has no effect on spontaneous flinching, when applied peripherally. Together, these data demonstrate a significant role for peripheral ASIC3-containing channels in postoperative pain.

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