Soluble epoxide hydrolase limits mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation
Carlo Federico Angioni
Ralf Peter Louis Brandes
Peter Werner Reeh
Clifford J. Woolf
Cytochrome-P450 (CYP450) epoxygenases metabolise arachidonic acid (AA) into four different biologically active epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) regioisomers. Three of the EETs (i.e., 8,9-, 11,12- and 14,15-EET) are rapidly hydrolysed by the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Here, we investigated the role of sEH in nociceptive processing during peripheral inflammation.
In dorsal root ganglia (DRG), we found that sEH is expressed in medium and large diameter neurofilament 200-positive neurons. Isolated DRG-neurons from sEH-/- mice showed higher EET and lower DHET levels. Upon AA stimulation, the largest changes in EET levels occurred in culture media, indicating both that cell associated EET concentrations quickly reach saturation and EET-hydrolyzing activity mostly effects extracellular EET signaling. In vivo, DRGs from sEH-deficient mice exhibited elevated 8,9-, 11,12- and 14,15-EET-levels. Interestingly, EET levels did not increase at the site of zymosan-induced inflammation. Cellular imaging experiments revealed direct calcium flux responses to 8,9-EET in a subpopulation of nociceptors. In addition, 8,9-EET sensitized AITC-induced calcium increases in DRG neurons and AITC-induced calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) release from sciatic nerve axons, indicating that 8,9-EET sensitizes TRPA1-expressing neurons, which are known to contribute to mechanical hyperalgesia. Supporting this, sEH-/- mice showed increased nociceptive responses to mechanical stimulation during zymosan-induced inflammation and 8,9-EET injection reduced mechanical thresholds in naive mice.
Our results show that the sEH can regulate mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation by inactivating 8,9-EET, which sensitizes TRPA1-expressing nociceptors. Therefore we suggest that influencing the CYP450 pathway, which is actually highly considered to treat cardiovascular diseases, may cause pain side effects.