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      Nociceptor-specific gene deletion reveals a major role for Nav1.7 (PN1) in acute and inflammatory pain

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          Abstract

          Nine voltage-gated sodium channels are expressed in complex patterns in mammalian nerve and muscle. Three channels, Na(v)1.7, Na(v)1.8, and Na(v)1.9, are expressed selectively in peripheral damage-sensing neurons. Because there are no selective blockers of these channels, we used gene ablation in mice to examine the function of Na(v)1.7 (PN1) in pain pathways. A global Na(v)1.7-null mutant was found to die shortly after birth. We therefore used the Cre-loxP system to generate nociceptor-specific knockouts. Na(v)1.8 is only expressed in peripheral, mainly nociceptive, sensory neurons. We knocked Cre recombinase into the Na(v)1.8 locus to generate heterozygous mice expressing Cre recombinase in Na(v)1.8-positive sensory neurons. Crossing these animals with mice where Na(v)1.7 exons 14 and 15 were flanked by loxP sites produced nociceptor-specific knockout mice that were viable and apparently normal. These animals showed increased mechanical and thermal pain thresholds. Remarkably, all inflammatory pain responses evoked by a range of stimuli, such as formalin, carrageenan, complete Freund's adjuvant, or nerve growth factor, were reduced or abolished. A congenital pain syndrome in humans recently has been mapped to the Na(v)1.7 gene, SCN9A. Dominant Na(v)1.7 mutations lead to edema, redness, warmth, and bilateral pain in human erythermalgia patients, confirming an important role for Na(v)1.7 in inflammatory pain. Nociceptor-specific gene ablation should prove useful in understanding the role of other broadly expressed genes in pain pathways.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Generalized lacZ expression with the ROSA26 Cre reporter strain.

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            Neurotrophins and their receptors: a convergence point for many signalling pathways.

             Moses Chao (2003)
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              Efficient recombination in diverse tissues by a tamoxifen-inducible form of Cre: a tool for temporally regulated gene activation/inactivation in the mouse.

              In recent years, the Cre integrase from bacteriophage P1 has become an essential tool for conditional gene activation and/or inactivation in mouse. In an earlier report, we described a fusion protein between Cre and a mutated form of the ligand binding domain of the estrogen receptor (Cre-ER) that renders Cre activity tamoxifen (TM) inducible, allowing for conditional modification of gene activity in the mammalian neural tube in utero. In the current work, we have generated a transgenic mouse line in which Cre-ER is ubiquitously expressed to permit temporally regulated Cre-mediated recombination in diverse tissues of the mouse at embryonic and adult stages. We demonstrate that a single, intraperitoneal injection of TM into a pregnant mouse at 8.5 days postcoitum leads to detectable recombination in the developing embryo within 6 h of injection and efficient recombination of a reporter gene in derivatives of all three germ layers within 24 h of injection. In addition, by varying the dose of TM injected, the percentage of cells undergoing a recombination event in the embryo can be controlled. Dose-dependent excision induced by TM was also possible in diverse tissues in the adult mouse, including the central nervous system, and in cultured cells derived from the transgenic mouse line. This inducible Cre system will be a broadly useful tool to modulate gene activity in mouse embryos, adults, and culture systems where temporal control is an important consideration. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                August 24 2004
                August 24 2004
                August 16 2004
                August 24 2004
                : 101
                : 34
                : 12706-12711
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0404915101
                515119
                15314237
                © 2004
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