An epigenetic target to reduce neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is characterized by symptoms like hyperalgesia, allodynia and/or spontaneous pain, affecting 7-8% people worldwide. Such symptoms are closely related to changes in the electric properties of sensory neurons secondary to peripheral nerve damage. One of these mechanisms involves reducing the levels of voltage-gated potassium channels.

Zhang & cols. underscored the importance of an epigenetic posttranslational mechanism of Kv1.2 reduction mediated by mIR-137 micro-RNA (originated from a non-protein coding DNA sequence). Antagonizing this micro-RNA restored normal potassium currents and reverted mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in a neuropathic pain model. These findings highlight the importance of novel therapeutic targets such as micro-RNA in the reestablishment of sensory functions in neuropathic pain.


Jingjing Zhang, Lina Rong, Jinping Shao, Yidan Zhang, Yaping Liu, Sen Zhao, Lei Li, Wenli Yu, Mengya Zhang, Xiuhua Ren, Qingzan Zhao, Changlian Zhu, Huan Luo, Weidong Zang, Jing Cao.