Protease-Activated Receptor 2 (PAR2) Expressed in Sensory Neurons Contributes to Signs of Pain and Neuropathy in Paclitaxel Treated Mice

Moeno Kume, Ayesha Ahmad, Kathryn A. DeFea, Josef Vagner, Gregory Dussor, Scott Boitano, Theodore J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common, dose-limiting side effect of cancer therapy. Protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) is implicated in a variety of pathologies, including CIPN. In this study, we demonstrate the role of PAR2 expressed in sensory neurons in a paclitaxel (PTX)-induced model of CIPN in mice. PAR2 knockout/wildtype (WT) mice and mice with PAR2 ablated in sensory neurons were treated with PTX administered via intraperitoneal injection. In vivo behavioral studies were done in mice using von Frey filaments and the Mouse Grimace Scale. We then examined immunohistochemical staining of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and hind paw skin samples from CIPN mice to measure satellite cell gliosis and intra-epidermal nerve fiber (IENF) density. The pharmacological reversal of CIPN pain was tested with the PAR2 antagonist C781. Mechanical allodynia caused by PTX treatment was alleviated in PAR2 knockout mice of both sexes. In the PAR2 sensory neuronal conditional knockout (cKO) mice, both mechanical allodynia and facial grimacing were attenuated in mice of both sexes. In the DRG of the PTX-treated PAR2 cKO mice, satellite glial cell activation was reduced compared to control mice. IENF density analysis of the skin showed that the PTX-treated control mice had a reduction in nerve fiber density while the PAR2 cKO mice had a comparable skin innervation as the vehicle-treated animals. Similar results were seen with satellite cell gliosis in the DRG, where gliosis induced by PTX was absent in PAR cKO mice. Finally, C781 was able to transiently reverse established PTX-evoked mechanical allodynia. Perspective: Our work demonstrates that PAR2 expressed in sensory neurons plays a key role in PTX-induced mechanical allodynia, spontaneous pain, and signs of neuropathy, suggesting PAR2 as a possible therapeutic target in multiple aspects of PTX CIPN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1980-1993
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Paclitaxel
  • Protease-activated receptor 2
  • Satellite cell gliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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