Research ArticlePain

Aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 regulates nociception in rodent models of acute inflammatory pain

Science Translational Medicine  27 Aug 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 251, pp. 251ra118
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009539

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Abstract

Exogenous aldehydes can cause pain in animal models, suggesting that aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2), which metabolizes many aldehydes, may regulate nociception. To test this hypothesis, we generated a knock-in mouse with an inactivating point mutation in ALDH2 (ALDH2*2), which is also present in human ALDH2 of ~540 million East Asians. The ALDH2*1/*2 heterozygotic mice exhibited a larger response to painful stimuli than their wild-type littermates, and this heightened nociception was inhibited by an ALDH2-selective activator (Alda-1). No effect on inflammation per se was observed. Using a rat model, we then showed that nociception tightly correlated with ALDH activity (R2 = 0.90) and that reduced nociception was associated with less early growth response protein 1 (EGR1) in the spinal cord and less reactive aldehyde accumulation at the insult site (including acetaldehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal). Further, acetaldehyde- and formalin-induced nociceptive behavior was greater in the ALDH2*1/*2 mice than in the wild-type mice. Finally, Alda-1 treatment was even beneficial when given after the inflammatory agent was administered. Our data in rodent models suggest that the mitochondrial enzyme ALDH2 regulates nociception and could serve as a molecular target for pain control, with ALDH2 activators, such as Alda-1, as potential non-narcotic, cardiac-safe analgesics. Furthermore, our results suggest a possible genetic basis for East Asians’ apparent lower pain tolerance.

View Full Text