Specific Attenuation of Purinergic Signaling during Bortezomib-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy In Vitro

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Holzer Anna-Katharina, Suciu Ilinca, Karreman Christiaan, Goj Thomas, Leist Marcel
DOI: 10.3390/ijms23073734
PMID: 35409095
Keyword: Nociceptors · Purinergic Receptor P2X3 · Peripheral Nervous System Diseases · Bortezomib Proteasome Inhibitors


Human peripheral neuropathies are poorly understood, and the availability of experimental models limits further research. The PeriTox test uses immature dorsal root ganglia (DRG)-like neurons, derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), to assess cell death and neurite damage. Here, we explored the suitability of matured peripheral neuron cultures for the detection of sub-cytotoxic endpoints, such as altered responses of pain-related P2X receptors. A two-step differentiation protocol, involving the transient expression of ectopic neurogenin-1 (NGN1) allowed for the generation of homogeneous cultures of sensory neurons. After >38 days of differentiation, they showed a robust response (Ca2+-signaling) to the P2X3 ligand α,β-methylene ATP. The clinical proteasome inhibitor bortezomib abolished the P2X3 signal at ≥5 nM, while 50−200 nM was required in the PeriTox test to identify neurite damage and cell death. A 24 h treatment with low nM concentrations of bortezomib led to moderate increases in resting cell intracellular Ca2+ concentration but signaling through transient receptor potential V1 (TRPV1) receptors or depolarization-triggered Ca2+ influx remained unaffected. We interpreted the specific attenuation of purinergic signaling as a functional cell stress response. A reorganization of tubulin to form dense structures around the cell somata confirmed a mild, non-cytotoxic stress triggered by low concentrations of bortezomib. The proteasome inhibitors carfilzomib, delanzomib, epoxomicin, and MG-132 showed similar stress responses. Thus, the model presented here may be used for the profiling of new proteasome inhibitors in regard to their side effect (neuropathy) potential, or for pharmacological studies on the attenuation of their neurotoxicity. P2X3 signaling proved useful as endpoint to assess potential neurotoxicants in peripheral neurons.