Protein kinase Cε is required for spinal analgesic synergy between delta opioid and alpha-2A adrenergic receptor agonist pairs

Daniel J. Schuster, Kelley F. Kitto, Aaron C. Overland, Robert O. Messing, Laura S. Stone, Carolyn A. Fairbanks, George L. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

We recently showed that spinal synergistic interactions between δ opioid receptors (δORs) and α2A adrenergic receptors (α2AARs) require protein kinase C (PKC). To identify which PKC isoforms contribute to analgesic synergy, we evaluated the effects of various PKC-isoform-specific peptide inhibitors on synergy between δORs and α2AARs using the tail flick assay of thermal nociception in mice. Only a PKCε inhibitor abolished synergy between a δOR agonist and an α2AAR agonist. We tested a panel of combinations of opioid and adrenergic agonists in PKCε knock-out mice and found that all four combinations of a SOR agonist and an α2AAR agonist required PKCε for antinociceptive synergy. None of the combinations of a μOR agonist with an α2AR agonist required PKCε. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that PKCε could be found in the population of peptidergic primary afferent nociceptors where δORs and α2AARs have been found to extensively colocalize. Immunoreactivity for PKCε was found in the majority of dorsal root ganglion neurons and intensely labeled laminae I and II of the spinal cord dorsal horn. PKCε is widespread in the spinal nociceptive system and in peptidergic primary afferents it appears to be specifically involved in mediating the synergistic interaction between δORs and α2AARs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13538-13546
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume33
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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