Publication Details

Gamper, N. & Ooi, L. (2015). Redox and nitric oxide-mediated regulation of sensory neuron ion channel function. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 22 (6), 486-504.


Significance: Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively) can intimately control neuronal excitability and synaptic strength by regulating the function of many ion channels. In peripheral sensory neurons, such regulation contributes towards the control of somatosensory processing; therefore, understanding the mechanisms of such regulation is necessary for the development of new therapeutic strategies and for the treatment of sensory dysfunctions, such as chronic pain. Recent Advances: Tremendous progress in deciphering nitric oxide (NO) and ROS signaling in the nervous system has been made in recent decades. This includes the recognition of these molecules as important second messengers and the elucidation of their metabolic pathways and cellular targets. Mounting evidence suggests that these targets include many ion channels which can be directly or indirectly modulated by ROS and NO. However, the mechanisms specific to sensory neurons are still poorly understood. This review will therefore summarize recent findings that highlight the complex nature of the signaling pathways involved in redox/NO regulation of sensory neuron ion channels and excitability; references to redox mechanisms described in other neuron types will be made where necessary. Critical Issues: The complexity and interplay within the redox, NO, and other gasotransmitter modulation of protein function are still largely unresolved. Issues of specificity and intracellular localization of these signaling cascades will also be addressed. Future Directions: Since our understanding of ROS and RNS signaling in sensory neurons is limited, there is a multitude of future directions; one of the most important issues for further study is the establishment of the exact roles that these signaling pathways play in pain processing and the translation of this understanding into new therapeutics.



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