• integrins;
  • primary afferent nociceptor;
  • rat;
  • signalling pathways;
  • TrkA


The underlying mechanism for nerve growth factor (NGF) evoked pain and long-lasting mechanical hyperalgesia remains poorly understood. Using intrathecal antisense against the NGF receptor, receptor tyrosine kinase (TrkA), we found NGF to act at the primary afferent nociceptor directly in the Sprague–Dawley rat. Inhibitors of the three major pathways for TrkA receptor signalling, extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) (ERK/MEK), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), and phospholipase Cγ (PLCγ) all attenuate NGF-induced hyperalgesia. Although inhibitors of kinases downstream of PI3K and PLCγ[glycogen synthetase kinase 3 (GSK3), calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CAMII-K) or protein kinase C (PKC)] do not reduce mechanical hyperalgesia, hyperalgesia induced by activation of PI3K was blocked by ERK/MEK inhibitors, suggesting cross-talk from the PI3K to the ERK/MEK signalling pathway. As integrins have been shown to modulate epinephrine and prostaglandin E2-induced hyperalgesia, we also evaluated a role for integrins in NGF-induced mechanical hyperalgesia using β1-integrin-specific antisense or antibodies.