The human 7-transmembrane receptor GPR7 has sequence similarity to opioid and somatostatin receptors, and can be activated by the recently discovered neuropeptides NPB and NPW. This receptor is highly expressed in the nervous system, with suggested roles in neuroendocrine events and pain signaling. In this study, we investigated whether the GPR7 receptor is expressed in the peripheral nervous system under normal and pathological conditions. A low level of GPR7 receptor was observed in myelin-forming Schwann cells in both normal human and rat nerve, and in primary rat Schwann cell cultures. Peripheral nerve samples taken from patients exhibiting inflammatory/immune-mediated neuropathies showed a dramatic increase of GPR7 receptor expression restricted to myelin-forming Schwann cells. Complementary animal models of immune-inflammatory and ligation-induced nerve injury and neuropathic pain similarly exhibited an increased myelin-associated expression of GPR7 receptor. These results suggest a relationship between the pathogenesis of inflammatory/immune-mediated neuropathies, GPR7 receptor expression, and pain transmission.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Developmental Neuroscience