Experimental neurology

Spinal RyR2 pathway regulated by the RNA-binding protein HuD induces pain hypersensitivity in antiretroviral neuropathy.

PMID 25765490


The antiretroviral toxic neuropathy, a distal sensory polyneuropathy associated with antiretroviral treatment, is a frequently occurring neurological complication during treatment of patients with AIDS and often leads to discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy. The mechanisms by which antiretroviral drugs contribute to the development of neuropathic pain are not known. Using drugs that reduce intracellular calcium ions (Ca(2+)), we investigated the hypothesis that altered cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration contributes to the 2',3'-dideoxycytidine (ddC)-evoked painful neuropathy. Administration of ddC induced mechanical and cold allodynia, which were abolished by intrathecal administration of TMB-8, a blocker of Ca(2+) release from intracellular stores, and by ryanodine, a RyR antagonist. Treatment with the IP3R antagonist heparin prevented mechanical allodynia with no effect on thermal response. To further clarify the pathway involved, we investigated the role of HuD, a RNA binding protein involved in neuronal function. HuD silencing reverted both mechanical and cold allodynia inducing, a phenotype comparable to that of ryanodine-exposed mice. HuD binding to the RyR2 mRNA, the most abundant RyR isoform in the spinal cord, was demonstrated and RyR2 silencing prevented the ddC-induced neuropathic pain. A positive regulation of gene expression on CaMKIIα by HuD was also observed, but sequestration of CaMKIIα had no effect on ddC-induced allodynia. The present findings identify a spinal RyR2 pathway activated in response to ddC administration, involving the binding activity on RyR2 mRNA by HuD. We propose the modulation of the RyR2 pathway as a therapeutic perspective in the management of antiretroviral painful neuropathy.