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Atypical changes in DRG neuron excitability and complex pain phenotype associated with a Nav1.7 mutation that massively hyperpolarizes activation

By Jianying Huang, Malgorzata A. Mis, Brian Tanaka, Talia Adi, Mark Estacion, Shujun Liu, Suellen Walker, Sulayman D. Dib-Hajj and Stephen G. Waxman


Abstract Sodium channel Nav1.7 plays a central role in pain-signaling: gain-of-function Nav1.7 mutations usually cause severe pain and loss-of-function mutations produce insensitivity to pain. The Nav1.7 I234T gain-of-function mutation, however, is linked to a dual clinical presentation of episodic pain, together with absence of pain following fractures, and corneal anesthesia. How a Nav1.7 mutation that produces gain-of-function at the channel level causes clinical loss-of-function has remained enigmatic. We show by current-clamp that expression of I234T in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons produces a range of membrane depolarizations including a massive shift to >−40 mV that reduces excitability in a small number of neurons. Dynamic-clamp permitted us to mimic the heterozygous condition via replacement of 50% endogenous wild-type Nav1.7 channels by I234T, and confirmed that the I234T conductance could drastically depolarize DRG neurons, resulting in loss of excitability. We conclude that attenuation of pain sensation by I234T is caused by massively depolarized membrane potential of some DRG neurons which is partly due to enhanced overlap between activation and fast-inactivation, impairing their ability to fire. Our results demonstrate how a Nav1.7 mutation that produces channel gain-of-function can contribute to a dual clinical presentation that includes loss of pain sensation at the clinical level

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-018-20221-7
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