Molecular pain

MeCP2 plays an analgesic role in pain transmission through regulating CREB / miR-132 pathway.

PMID 25885346


The Methyl CpG binding protein 2 gene (MeCP2 gene) encodes a critical transcriptional repressor and is widely expressed in mammalian neurons. MeCP2 plays a critical role in neuronal differentiation, neural development, and synaptic plasticity. Mutations and duplications of the human MECP2 gene lead to severe neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Rett syndrome and autism. In this study we investigate the role of MeCP2 in the spinal cord and found that MeCP2 plays an important role as an analgesic mediator in pain circuitry. Experiments using MeCP2 transgenic mice showed that overexpression of MeCP2 weakens both acute mechanical pain and thermal pain, suggesting an analgesic role of MeCP2 in acute pain transduction. We found that through p-CREB/miR-132 signaling cascade is involved in MeCP2-mediated pain transduction. We also examined the role of MeCP2 in chronic pain formation using spared nerve injury (SNI) model. Strikingly, we found that development of neuropathic pain attenuates in MeCP2 transgenic mice comparing to wild type (WT) mice. Our study shows that MeCP2 plays an analgesic role in both acute pain transduction and chronic pain formation through regulating CREB-miR-132 pathway. This work provides a potential therapeutic target for neural pathologic pain, and also sheds new lights on the abnormal sensory mechanisms associated with autism spectrum orders.