Research ArticlePain

The mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo2 mediates sensitivity to mechanical pain in mice

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Science Translational Medicine  10 Oct 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 462, eaat9897
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aat9897

Understanding pain sensitization

Inflammation or nerve injury can alter tactile sensation, making a gentle touch perceived as painful. The molecular mechanisms mediating this alteration in sensation, called mechanical allodynia, are not completely understood. Murthy et al. and Szczot et al. discovered that PIEZO2 ion channels expressed in sensory neurons are required for the development of mechanical allodynia in mice and humans. The authors independently reached this conclusion using different animal models. Szczot et al. extended the discovery to humans, showing that PIEZO2 loss of function resulted in failure to develop mechanical allodynia. These two studies suggest that local inhibition of PIEZO2 ion channels might be effective for treating mechanical allodynia.