SCIENCE CHINA Life Sciences, Volume 60, Issue 9: 1013-1018(2017) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11427-017-9061-y

Presynaptic inhibition of nociceptive neurotransmission by somatosensory neuron-secreted suppressors

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  • ReceivedFeb 24, 2017
  • AcceptedMar 15, 2017
  • PublishedJun 15, 2017


Noxious stimuli cause pain by activating cutaneous nociceptors. The Aδ- and C-fibers of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons convey the nociceptive signals to the laminae I–II of spinal cord. In the dorsal horn of spinal cord, the excitatory afferent synaptic transmission is regulated by the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid and modulators such as opioid peptides released from the spinal interneurons, and by serotonin, norepinepherine and dopamine from the descending inhibitory system. In contrast to the accumulated evidence for these central inhibitors and their neural circuits in the dorsal spinal cord, the knowledge about the endogenous suppressive mechanisms in nociceptive DRG neurons remains very limited. In this review, we summarize our recent findings of the presynaptic suppressive mechanisms in nociceptive neurons, the BNP/NPR-A/PKG/BKCa channel pathway, the FSTL1/α1Na+-K+ ATPase pathway and the activin C/ERK pathway. These endogenous suppressive systems in the mechanoheat nociceptors may also contribute differentially to the mechanisms of nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain or inflammation-induced pain.

Funded by

Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDB02010000)

National Natural Science Foundation of China(31630033)

Shanghai Science and Technology Committee(16JC1420500)


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31630033, 31130066, 31671094, 81300961), Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB02010000, QYZDY-SSW-SMC007), and Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (16JC1420500).

Interest statement

The author(s) declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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