cGMP signalling in dorsal root ganglia and the spinal cord: Various functions in development and adulthood.

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Cyclic GMP (cGMP) is a second messenger that regulates numerous physiological and pathophysiological processes. In recent years, more and more studies have uncovered multiple roles of cGMP signalling pathways in the somatosensory system. Accumulating evidence suggests that cGMP regulates different cellular processes from embryonic development through adulthood. During embryonic development, a cGMP-dependent signalling cascade in the trunk sensory system is essential for axon bifurcation, a specific form of branching of somatosensory axons. In adulthood, various cGMP signalling pathways in distinct cell populations of sensory neurons and dorsal horn neurons in the spinal cord play an important role in the processing of pain and itch. Some of the involved enzymes might serve as a target for future therapies. In this review, we summarize the knowledge regarding cGMP-dependent signalling pathways in dorsal root ganglia and the spinal cord during embryonic development and adulthood, and the future potential of targeting these pathways.

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Authors: Hannes Schmidt, Alexandra Böttcher, Tilman Groß, Achim Schmidtko