Pan Z, Zhang M, Ma T, Xue Z-Y, Li G-F, Hao L-Y, Zhu L-J, Li Y-Q, Ding H-L, Cao J-L
DNA 5-hydroxylmethylcytosine (5hmC) catalyzed by ten-eleven translocation methylcytosine dioxygenase (TET) occurs abundantly in neurons of mammals. However, the in vivo causal link between TET dysregulation and nociceptive modulation has not been established. Here, we found that spinal TET1 and TET3 were significantly increased in the model of formalin-induced acute inflammatory pain, which was accompanied with the augment of genome-wide 5hmC content in spinal cord. Knockdown of spinal TET1 or TET3 alleviated the formalin-induced nociceptive behavior and overexpression of spinal TET1 or TET3 in naive mice produced pain-like behavior as evidenced by decreased thermal pain threshold. Furthermore, we found that TET1 or TET3 regulated the nociceptive behavior by targeting microRNA-365-3p (miR-365-3p). Formalin increased 5hmC in the miR-365-3p promoter, which was inhibited by knockdown of TET1 or TET3 and mimicked by overexpression of TET1 or TET3 in naive mice. Nociceptive behavior induced by formalin or overexpression of spinal TET1 or TET3 could be prevented by downregulation of miR-365-3p, and mimicked by overexpression of spinal miR-365-3p. Finally, we demonstrated that a potassium channel, voltage-gated eag-related subfamily H member 2 (Kcnh2), validated as a target of miR-365-3p, played a critical role in nociceptive modulation by spinal TET or miR-365-3p. Together, we concluded that TET-mediated hydroxymethylation of miR-365-3p regulates nociceptive behavior via Kcnh2.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Mounting evidence indicates that epigenetic modifications in the nociceptive pathway contribute to pain processes and analgesia response. Here, we found that the increase of 5hmC content mediated by TET1 or TET3 in miR-365-3p promoter in the spinal cord is involved in nociceptive modulation through targeting a potassium channel, Kcnh2. Our study reveals a new epigenetic mechanism underlying nociceptive information processing, which may be a novel target for development of antinociceptive drugs.