PAR-2 agonists activate trigeminal nociceptors and induce functional competence in the delta opioid receptor

Pain. 2006 Nov;125(1-2):114-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2006.05.007. Epub 2006 Jun 14.


The role of protease activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) activation in trigeminal nociception and in induction of functional competence in the delta opioid receptor (DOR) is not known. In this study, we evaluated whether agonists of PAR-2 activate the capsaicin-sensitive subclass of trigeminal nociceptors in a PLC-PKC-dependent manner and induce functional competence in the DOR. Adult male rat trigeminal ganglion (TG) cultured neurons were treated with the PAR-2 agonist (SL-NH2) or an enzyme activator of PAR (trypsin) and the activation of TG nociceptors was assessed using three independent methods: neuropeptide release, calcium influx, and whole cell patch-clamp. The specificity of SL-NH2 and trypsin responses was evaluated using TG cultures transfected with siRNA against PAR-2. The in vivo role of PAR-2 activation was determined measuring SL-NH2 and trypsin-evoked nocifensive behavior and increase in blood flow. Trigeminal neurons were treated with SL-NH2/vehicle and then the DOR agonist to determine DOR inhibition of evoked neuropeptide release and cAMP accumulation. The results showed that SL-NH2 (100 microM) and trypsin (1-600 nM) activate TG nociceptors, which is partly reversible by the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide (500 nM) and by ruthenium red (10 microM). In cultures treated with siRNA against PAR-2, both SL-NH2 and trypsin responses were significantly diminished. Both SL-NH2 and trypsin evoke nocifensive behavior and increases in blood flow in an orofacial pain model. Application of SL-NH2 rapidly produced functional competence of DOR for inhibiting nociceptor function. In inflamed tissue, endogenous proteases may activate TG nociceptors and generate pain. Moreover, activation of PAR-2 can also induce functional competence in DOR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nociceptors / drug effects
  • Nociceptors / metabolism*
  • Oligopeptides / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / agonists*
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta / metabolism*
  • Trigeminal Nuclei / drug effects
  • Trigeminal Nuclei / metabolism*
  • Trypsin / administration & dosage*


  • Oligopeptides
  • Receptor, PAR-2
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta
  • seryl-leucyl-isoleucyl-glycyl--arginyl-leucinamide
  • Trypsin