Piezo2 expressing nociceptors mediate mechanical sensitization in experimental osteoarthritis

Alia M. Obeidat, Matthew J. Wood, Natalie S. Adamczyk, Shingo Ishihara, Jun Li, Lai Wang, Dongjun Ren, David A. Bennett, Richard J. Miller, Anne Marie Malfait, Rachel E. Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Non-opioid targets are needed for addressing osteoarthritis pain, which is mechanical in nature and associated with daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs. Piezo2 has been implicated in the development of mechanical pain, but the mechanisms by which this occurs remain poorly understood, including the role of nociceptors. Here we show that nociceptor-specific Piezo2 conditional knock-out mice were protected from mechanical sensitization associated with inflammatory joint pain in female mice, joint pain associated with osteoarthritis in male mice, as well as both knee swelling and joint pain associated with repeated intra-articular injection of nerve growth factor in male mice. Single cell RNA sequencing of mouse lumbar dorsal root ganglia and in situ hybridization of mouse and human lumbar dorsal root ganglia revealed that a subset of nociceptors co-express Piezo2 and Ntrk1 (the gene that encodes the nerve growth factor receptor TrkA). These results suggest that nerve growth factor-mediated sensitization of joint nociceptors, which is critical for osteoarthritic pain, is also dependent on Piezo2, and targeting Piezo2 may represent a therapeutic option for osteoarthritis pain control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2479
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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