Abnormal activity of corneal cold thermoreceptors underlies the unpleasant sensations in dry eye disease

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Title: Abnormal activity of corneal cold thermoreceptors underlies the unpleasant sensations in dry eye disease
Authors: Kovács, Illés | Luna, Carolina | Quirce, Susana | Mizerska, Kamila | Callejo, Gerard | Riestra, Ana | Fernández Sánchez, Laura | Meseguer, Victor M. | Cuenca, Nicolás | Merayo-Lloves, Jesús | Acosta, M. Carmen | Gasull, Xavier | Belmonte, Carlos | Gallar, Juana
Research Group/s: Neurobiología del Sistema Visual y Terapia de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (NEUROVIS)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología
Keywords: Eye pain | Dry eye | Corneal nerve injury | Neuropathic pain | Eye inflammation | Cold thermoreceptors | Nociceptors
Knowledge Area: Biología Celular
Issue Date: Feb-2016
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer
Citation: PAIN. 2016, 157(2): 399-417. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000455
Abstract: Dry eye disease (DED) affects >10% of the population worldwide, and it provokes an unpleasant sensation of ocular dryness, whose underlying neural mechanisms remain unknown. Removal of the main lachrymal gland in guinea pigs caused long-term reduction of basal tearing accompanied by changes in the architecture and density of subbasal corneal nerves and epithelial terminals. After 4 weeks, ongoing impulse activity and responses to cooling of corneal cold thermoreceptor endings were enhanced. Menthol (200 μM) first excited and then inactivated this augmented spontaneous and cold-evoked activity. Comparatively, corneal polymodal nociceptors of tear-deficient eyes remained silent and exhibited only a mild sensitization to acidic stimulation, whereas mechanonociceptors were not affected. Dryness-induced changes in peripheral cold thermoreceptor responsiveness developed in parallel with a progressive excitability enhancement of corneal cold trigeminal ganglion neurons, primarily due to an increase of sodium currents and a decrease of potassium currents. In corneal polymodal nociceptor neurons, sodium currents were enhanced whereas potassium currents remain unaltered. In healthy humans, exposure of the eye surface to menthol vapors or to cold air currents evoked unpleasant sensations accompanied by increased blinking frequency that we attributed to cold thermoreceptor stimulation. Notably, stimulation with menthol reduced the ongoing background discomfort of patients with DED, conceivably due to use-dependent inactivation of cold thermoreceptors. Together, these data indicate that cold thermoreceptors contribute importantly to the detection and signaling of ocular surface wetness, and develop under chronic eye dryness conditions an injury-evoked neuropathic firing that seems to underlie the unpleasant sensations experienced by patients with DED.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, projects SAF2014-54518-C3-1-R and SAF2011-22500 (J.G.), and in part by SAF2014-54518-C3-2-R and BFU2008-04425 (C.B.), BFU2012-36845 and RETICS RD12/0034/0010 (N.C.), FIS PI11/01601, FIS PI14/00141, 2014SGR1165, and RD12/0034/0003 (X.G.), Fundación María Cristina Masaveu Peterson and PI FIS 110288 (J.M.-L. and C.B.), and by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund—European FP7 Marie Curie Mobility grant Human-MB08A 80372 and OTKA NN106649 (I.K.).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/62737
ISSN: 0304-3959 (Print) | 1872-6623 (Online)
DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000455
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2015 International Association for the Study of Pain
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000455
Appears in Collections:INV - NEUROVIS - Artículos de Revistas

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