Neuropathic pain caused by peripheral nerve injuries significantly affects sensory perception and quality of life. Accumulating evidence strongly link cholesterol with development and progression of Obesity and Diabetes associated-neuropathies. However, the exact mechanisms of how cholesterol/lipid metabolism in peripheral nervous system (PNS) contributes to the pathogenesis of neuropathy remains poorly understood. Dysregulation of LXR pathways have been identified in many neuropathic models. The cholesterol sensor, LXR α/β, expressed in sensory neurons are necessary for proper peripheral nerve function. Deletion of LXR α/β from sensory neurons lead to pain-like behaviors. In this study, we identified that LXR α/β expressed in sensory neurons regulates neuronal Neuregulin 1 (Nrg1), protein involved in cell-cell communication. Using in vivo cell-specific approaches, we observed that loss of LXR from sensory neurons altered genes in non-neuronal cells located in the sciatic nerve (potentially representing Schwann cells (SC)). Our data suggest that neuronal LXRs may regulate non-neuronal cell function via a Nrg1-dependent mechanism. The decrease in Nrg1 expression in DRG neurons of WD-fed mice may suggest an altered Nrg1-dependent neuron-SC communication in Obesity. The communication between neurons and non-neuronal cells such as SC could be a new biological pathway to study and understand the molecular and cellular mechanism underlying Obesity-associated neuropathy and PNS dysfunction.
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