Neuronal allodynic mechanisms of Slc7a5 (LAT1) in the spared nerve injury rodent model of neuropathic pain

Aleyah E. Goins, Kimberly Gomez, Dongzhi Ran, Mitra Afaghpour-Becklund, Rajesh Khanna, Sascha R.A. Alles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-impact chronic pain is suffered by 1 in 5 patients in the USA and globally. Effective, non-addictive, non-opioid therapeutics are urgently needed for the treatment of chronic pain. Slc7a5 (Lat1), also known as system L-neutral amino acid transporter, is involved in a number of physiological processes related to inflammation. Transcriptomics studies have shown that Slc7a5 and its binding partner Slc3a2 are expressed in neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and spinal dorsal horn, which are critical to the initiation and maintenance of nociception and pathophysiology of chronic pain. In addition, Slc7a5 is a transporter for the first-line anti-allodynic gabapentinoid drugs and binds to ion channels implicated in nociception and chronic pain including the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.7 and the voltage-gated potassium channels Kv1.1 and Kv1.2. We found that blocking Slc7a5 with intrathecal administration of the drug JPH203 alleviated allodynia in the spared nerve injury (SNI) rodent model of neuropathic pain. Western blot and immunohistochemistry studies revealed an increase in Slc7a5 protein levels in the spinal cord and DRGs of SNI mice compared to control mice. Using whole-cell current-clamp electrophysiology, we observed that JPH203 treatment reduced excitability of small-diameter (< 30 µm) DRG neurons from SNI mice, in agreement with its behavioral effects. Voltage-clamp recordings from JPH203-treated naïve rat DRGs identified an effect on tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) sodium currents. Altogether, these results demonstrate that Slc7a5 is dysregulated in chronic neuropathic pain and can be targeted to provide relief of hypersensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-403
Number of pages7
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Chronic pain
  • Electrophysiology
  • Nociceptor
  • Slc7a5 (LAT1)
  • Humans
  • Rodentia
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Hyperalgesia/drug therapy
  • Neurons/metabolism
  • Neuralgia/drug therapy
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1/metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn/metabolism
  • Mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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