Mechanisms of transient signaling via short and long prolactin receptor isoforms in female and male sensory neurons

Sergei Belugin, Anibal R. Diogenes, Mayur J. Patil, Erika Ginsburg, Michael A. Henry, Armen N. Akopian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Prolactin (PRL) regulates activity of nociceptors and causes hyperalgesia in pain conditions. PRL enhances nociceptive responses by rapidly modulating channels in nociceptors. The molecular mechanisms underlying PRL-induced transient signaling in neurons are not well understood. Here we use a variety of cell biology and pharmacological approaches to show that PRL transiently enhanced capsaicin-evoked responses involve protein kinase C ε (PKCε) or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways in female rat trigeminal (TG) neurons.Wenext reconstituted PRL-induced signaling in a heterologous expression system and TG neurons from PRL receptor (PRLR)-null mutant mice by expressing rat PRLR-long isoform (PRLR-L), PRLR-short isoform (PRLR-S), or a mix of both. Results show that PRLR-S, but not PRLR-L, is capable of mediating PRL-induced transient enhancement of capsaicin responses in both male and female TG neurons. However, co-expression of PRLR-L with PRLR-S (1:1 ratio) leads to the inhibition of the transient PRL actions. Co-expression of PRLR-L deletion mutants with PRLR-S indicated that the cytoplasmic site adjacent to the trans-membrane domain of PRLR-L was responsible for inhibitory effects of PRLR-L. Furthermore, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry data indicate that in normal conditions, PRLR-L is expressed mainly in glia with little expression in rat sensory neurons (3-5%) and human nerves. The predominant PRLR form in TG neurons/nerves from rats and humans is PRLR-S. Altogether, PRL-induced transient signaling in sensory neurons is governed by PI3K or PKCε, mediated via the PRLR-S isoform, and transient effects mediated by PRLR-S are inhibited by presence of PRLR-L in these cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34943-34955
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 29 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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