Reduced expression of SynGAP, a neuronal GTPase-activating protein, enhances capsaicin-induced peripheral sensitization

Djane Braz Duarte, Duan Jian-Hong, Grant D. Nicol, Michael R. Vasko, Cynthia M. Hingtgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Synaptic GTPase-activating protein (SynGAP) is a neuronal-specific Ras/Rap-GAP that increases the hydrolysis rate of GTP to GDP, converting Ras/Rap from the active into the inactive form. The Ras protein family modulates a wide range of cellular pathways including those involved in sensitization of sensory neurons. Since GAPs regulate Ras activity, SynGAP might be an important regulator of peripheral sensitization and pain. Therefore, we evaluated excitability, stimulus-evoked release of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and nociception from wildtype (WT) mice and those with a heterozygous mutation of the SynGAP gene (SynGAP+/-). Our results demonstrate that SynGAP is expressed in primary afferent sensory neurons and that the capsaicinstimulated CGRP release from spinal cord slices was two-fold higher from SynGAP+/- mice than that observed from WT mouse tissue, consistent with an increase in expression of the capsaicin receptor, transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), in SynGAP+/- dorsal root ganglia. However, there was no difference between the two genotypes in potassium-stimulated release of CGRP, the number of action potentials generated by a ramp of depolarizing current, or mechanical hypernociception elicited by intraplantar injection of capsaicin. In contrast, capsaicin-induced thermal hypernociception occurred at lower doses of capsaicin and had a longer duration in SynGAP+/- mice than WT mice. These results provide the first evidence that SynGAP is an important regulator of neuropeptide release from primary sensory neurons and can modulate capsaicin-induced hypernociception, demonstrating the importance of GAP regulation in signaling pathways that play a role in peripheral sensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • Capsaicin
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Thermal hypernociception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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