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1.  Autophagy impairment in a mouse model of neuropathic pain 
Molecular Pain  2011;7:83.
Autophagy is an intracellular membrane trafficking pathway controlling the delivery of cytoplasmic material to the lysosomes for degradation. It plays an important role in cell homeostasis in both normal settings and abnormal, stressful conditions. It is now recognised that an imbalance in the autophagic process can impact basal cell functions and this has recently been implicated in several human diseases, including neurodegeneration and cancer.
Here, we investigated the consequences of nerve injury on the autophagic process in a commonly used model of neuropathic pain. The expression and modulation of the main autophagic marker, the microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), was evaluated in the L4-L5 cord segment seven days after spinal nerve ligation (SNL). Levels of LC3-II, the autophagosome-associated LC3 form, were markedly higher in the spinal cord ipsilateral to the ligation side, appeared to correlate with the upregulation of the calcium channel subunit α2δ-1 and were not present in mice that underwent sham surgery. However, LC3-I and Beclin 1 expression were only slightly increased. On the contrary, SNL promoted the accumulation of the ubiquitin- and LC3-binding protein p62, which inversely correlates with autophagic activity, thus pointing to a block of autophagosome turnover.
Our data showed for the first time that basal autophagy is disrupted in a model of neuropathic pain.
PMCID: PMC3234188  PMID: 22023914
neuropathic pain; spinal nerve ligation; autophagy; LC3, Beclin 1
2.  Nerve injury induces robust allodynia and ectopic discharges in Nav1.3 null mutant mice 
Molecular Pain  2006;2:33.
Changes in sodium channel activity and neuronal hyperexcitability contribute to neuropathic pain, a major clinical problem. There is strong evidence that the re-expression of the embryonic voltage-gated sodium channel subunit Nav1.3 underlies neuronal hyperexcitability and neuropathic pain.
Here we show that acute and inflammatory pain behaviour is unchanged in global Nav1.3 mutant mice. Surprisingly, neuropathic pain also developed normally in the Nav1.3 mutant mouse. To rule out any genetic compensation mechanisms that may have masked the phenotype, we investigated neuropathic pain in two conditional Nav1.3 mutant mouse lines. We used Nav1.8-Cre mice to delete Nav1.3 in nociceptors at E14 and NFH-Cre mice to delete Nav1.3 throughout the nervous system postnatally. Again normal levels of neuropathic pain developed after nerve injury in both lines. Furthermore, ectopic discharges from damaged nerves were unaffected by the absence of Nav1.3 in global knock-out mice. Our data demonstrate that Nav1.3 is neither necessary nor sufficient for the development of nerve-injury related pain.
PMCID: PMC1630424  PMID: 17052333
3.  Neuropathic pain develops normally in mice lacking both Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 
Molecular Pain  2005;1:24.
Two voltage gated sodium channel α-subunits, Nav1.7 and Nav1.8, are expressed at high levels in nociceptor terminals and have been implicated in the development of inflammatory pain. Mis-expression of voltage-gated sodium channels by damaged sensory neurons has also been implicated in the development of neuropathic pain, but the role of Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 is uncertain. Here we show that deleting Nav1.7 has no effect on the development of neuropathic pain. Double knockouts of both Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 also develop normal levels of neuropathic pain, despite a lack of inflammatory pain symptoms and altered mechanical and thermal acute pain thresholds. These studies demonstrate that, in contrast to the highly significant role for Nav1.7 in determining inflammatory pain thresholds, the development of neuropathic pain does not require the presence of either Nav1.7 or Nav1.8 alone or in combination.
PMCID: PMC1215513  PMID: 16111501

Results 1-3 (3)