Fibroblasts in whole areolar connective tissue respond to static stretching of the tissue by expanding and remodeling their cytoskeleton within minutes both ex vivo and in vivo. This study tested the hypothesis that the mechanism of fibroblast expansion in response to tissue stretch involves extracellular ATP signaling. In response to tissue stretch ex vivo, ATP levels in the bath solution increased significantly, and this increase was sustained for 20 min, returning to baseline at 60 min.
The pathogen- and damage-associated molecular patterns (for example, bacterial endotoxin and adenosine 5'-triphosphate [ATP]) activate the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase R (PKR) to trigger the inflammasome-dependent high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release. Extracellular ATP contributes to the inflammasome activation through binding to the plasma membrane purinergic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R), triggering the opening of P2X7R channels and the pannexin-1 (panx-1) hemichannels permeable for larger molecules up to 900 daltons.
Spinal glial gap junctions may play an important role in dorsal horn neuronal sensitization and neuropathic pain. In rats after an L5 spinal nerve ligation (SNL), we examined the effects of intrathecal injection of carbenoxolone (CBX), a gap junction decoupler, on neuropathic pain manifestations and on wide-dynamic range (WDR) neuronal activity in vivo. Intrathecal injection of CBX dose-dependently (0.1-50 μg, 10 μl) inhibited mechanical hypersensitivity in rats at 2-3 weeks post-SNL.