Pathological sprouting of adult nociceptors in chronic prostate cancer-induced bone pain.
ABSTRACT: Pain frequently accompanies cancer. What remains unclear is why this pain frequently becomes more severe and difficult to control with disease progression. Here we test the hypothesis that with disease progression, sensory nerve fibers that innervate the tumor-bearing tissue undergo a pathological sprouting and reorganization, which in other nonmalignant pathologies has been shown to generate and maintain chronic pain. Injection of canine prostate cancer cells into mouse bone induces a remarkable sprouting of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP(+)) and neurofilament 200 kDa (NF200(+)) sensory nerve fibers. Nearly all sensory nerve fibers that undergo sprouting also coexpress tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA(+)). This ectopic sprouting occurs in sensory nerve fibers that are in close proximity to colonies of prostate cancer cells, tumor-associated stromal cells and newly formed woven bone, which together form sclerotic lesions that closely mirror the osteoblastic bone lesions induced by metastatic prostate tumors in humans. Preventive treatment with an antibody that sequesters nerve growth factor (NGF), administered when the pain and bone remodeling were first observed, blocks this ectopic sprouting and attenuates cancer pain. Interestingly, reverse transcription PCR analysis indicated that the prostate cancer cells themselves do not express detectable levels of mRNA coding for NGF. This suggests that the tumor-associated stromal cells express and release NGF, which drives the pathological reorganization of nearby TrkA(+) sensory nerve fibers. Therapies that prevent this reorganization of sensory nerve fibers may provide insight into the evolving mechanisms that drive cancer pain and lead to more effective control of this chronic pain state.
Project description:Early, preemptive blockade of nerve growth factor (NGF)/tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) attenuates tumor-induced nerve sprouting and bone cancer pain. A critical unanswered question is whether late blockade of NGF/TrkA can attenuate cancer pain once NGF-induced nerve sprouting and neuroma formation has occurred. By means of a mouse model of prostate cancer-induced bone pain, anti-NGF was either administered preemptively at day 14 after tumor injection when nerve sprouting had yet to occur, or late at day 35, when extensive nerve sprouting had occurred. Animals were humanely killed at day 70 when, in vehicle-treated animals, significant nerve sprouting and neuroma formation was present in the tumor-bearing bone. Although preemptive and sustained administration (days 14-70) of anti-NGF more rapidly attenuated bone cancer nociceptive behaviors than late and sustained administration (days 35-70), by day 70 after tumor injection, both preemptive and late administration of anti-NGF significantly reduced nociceptive behaviors, sensory and sympathetic nerve sprouting, and neuroma formation. In this model, as in most cancers, the individual cancer cell colonies have a limited half-life because they are constantly proliferating, metastasizing, and undergoing necrosis as the parent cancer cell colony outgrows its blood supply. Similarly, the sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers that innervate the tumor undergo sprouting at the viable/leading edge of the parent tumor, degenerate as the parent cancer cell colony becomes necrotic, and resprout in the viable, newly formed daughter cell colonies. These results suggest that preemptive or late-stage blockade of NGF/TrkA can attenuate nerve sprouting and cancer pain.
Project description:For many patients, pain is the first sign of cancer and, while pain can be present at any time, the frequency and intensity of pain tend to increase with advancing stages of the disease. Thus, between 75 and 90% of patients with metastatic or advanced-stage cancer will experience significant cancer-induced pain. One major unanswered question is why cancer pain increases and frequently becomes more difficult to fully control with disease progression. To gain insight into this question we used a mouse model of bone cancer pain to demonstrate that as tumor growth progresses within bone, tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA)-expressing sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers undergo profuse sprouting and form neuroma-like structures. To address what is driving the pathological nerve reorganization we administered an antibody to nerve growth factor (anti-NGF). Early sustained administration of anti-NGF, whose cognate receptor is TrkA, blocks the pathological sprouting of sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers, the formation of neuroma-like structures, and inhibits the development of cancer pain. These results suggest that cancer cells and their associated stromal cells release nerve growth factor (NGF), which induces a pathological remodeling of sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers. This pathological remodeling of the peripheral nervous system then participates in driving cancer pain. Similar to therapies that target the cancer itself, the data presented here suggest that, the earlier therapies blocking this pathological nerve remodeling are initiated, the more effective the control of cancer pain.
Project description:Pain often accompanies cancer and most current therapies for treating cancer pain have significant unwanted side effects. Targeting nerve growth factor (NGF) or its cognate receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) has become an attractive target for attenuating chronic pain. In the present report, we use a mouse model of bone cancer pain and examine whether oral administration of a selective small molecule Trk inhibitor (ARRY-470, which blocks TrkA, TrkB and TrkC kinase activity at low nm concentrations) has a significant effect on cancer-induced pain behaviors, tumor-induced remodeling of sensory nerve fibers, tumor growth and tumor-induced bone remodeling. Early/sustained (initiated day 6 post cancer cell injection), but not late/acute (initiated day 18 post cancer cell injection) administration of ARRY-470 markedly attenuated bone cancer pain and significantly blocked the ectopic sprouting of sensory nerve fibers and the formation of neuroma-like structures in the tumor bearing bone, but did not have a significant effect on tumor growth or bone remodeling. These data suggest that, like therapies that target the cancer itself, the earlier that the blockade of TrkA occurs, the more effective the control of cancer pain and the tumor-induced remodeling of sensory nerve fibers. Developing targeted therapies that relieve cancer pain without the side effects of current analgesics has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life and functional status of cancer patients.
Project description:Bone is richly innervated by nerve growth factor-responsive (NGF-responsive) tropomyosin receptor kinase A-expressing (TrKa-expressing) sensory nerve fibers, which are required for osteochondral progenitor expansion during mammalian skeletal development. Aside from pain sensation, little is known regarding the role of sensory innervation in bone repair. Here, we characterized the reinnervation of tissue following experimental ulnar stress fracture and assessed the impact of loss of TrkA signaling in this process. Sequential histological data obtained in reporter mice subjected to fracture demonstrated a marked upregulation of NGF expression in periosteal stromal progenitors and fracture-associated macrophages. Sprouting and arborization of CGRP+TrkA+ sensory nerve fibers within the reactive periosteum in NGF-enriched cellular domains were evident at time points preceding periosteal vascularization, ossification, and mineralization. Temporal inhibition of TrkA catalytic activity by administration of 1NMPP1 to TrkAF592A mice significantly reduced the numbers of sensory fibers, blunted revascularization, and delayed ossification of the fracture callus. We observed similar deficiencies in nerve regrowth and fracture healing in a mouse model of peripheral neuropathy induced by paclitaxel treatment. Together, our studies demonstrate an essential role of TrkA signaling for stress fracture repair and implicate skeletal sensory nerves as an important upstream mediator of this repair process.
Project description:Skeletal injury is a leading cause of chronic pain and long-term disability worldwide. While most acute skeletal pain can be effectively managed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opiates, chronic skeletal pain is more difficult to control using these same therapy regimens. One possibility as to why chronic skeletal pain is more difficult to manage over time is that there may be nerve sprouting in nonhealed areas of the skeleton that normally receive little (mineralized bone) to no (articular cartilage) innervation. If such ectopic sprouting did occur, it could result in normally nonnoxious loading of the skeleton being perceived as noxious and/or the generation of a neuropathic pain state. To explore this possibility, a mouse model of skeletal pain was generated by inducing a closed fracture of the femur. Examined animals had comminuted fractures and did not fully heal even at 90+days post fracture. In all mice with nonhealed fractures, exuberant sensory and sympathetic nerve sprouting, an increase in the density of nerve fibers, and the formation of neuroma-like structures near the fracture site were observed. Additionally, all of these animals exhibited significant pain behaviors upon palpation of the nonhealed fracture site. In contrast, sprouting of sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers or significant palpation-induced pain behaviors was never observed in naïve animals. Understanding what drives this ectopic nerve sprouting and the role it plays in skeletal pain may allow a better understanding and treatment of this currently difficult-to-control pain state.
Project description:Sprouting of sympathetic fibers into sensory ganglia occurs in many preclinical pain models, providing a possible anatomical substrate for sympathetically enhanced pain. However, the functional consequences of this sprouting have been controversial. We used a transgenic mouse in which sympathetic fibers expressed green fluorescent protein, observable in live tissue. Medium and large diameter lumbar sensory neurons with and without nearby sympathetic fibers were recorded in whole ganglion preparations using microelectrodes.After spinal nerve ligation, sympathetic sprouting was extensive by 3 days. Abnormal spontaneous activity increased to 15% and rheobase was reduced. Spontaneously active cells had A?? conduction velocities but were clustered near the medium/large cell boundary. Neurons with sympathetic basket formations had a dramatically higher incidence of spontaneous activity (71%) and had lower rheobase than cells with no sympathetic fibers nearby. Cells with lower density nearby fibers had intermediate phenotypes. Immunohistochemistry of sectioned ganglia showed that cells surrounded by sympathetic fibers were enriched in nociceptive markers TrkA, substance P, or CGRP. Spontaneous activity began before sympathetic sprouting was observed, but blocking sympathetic sprouting on day 3 by cutting the dorsal ramus in addition to the ventral ramus of the spinal nerve greatly reduced abnormal spontaneous activity.The data suggest that early sympathetic sprouting into the sensory ganglia may have highly localized, excitatory effects. Quantitatively, neurons with sympathetic basket formations may account for more than half of the observed spontaneous activity, despite being relatively rare. Spontaneous activity in sensory neurons and sympathetic sprouting may be mutually re-enforcing.
Project description:Bortezomib is a mainstay of therapy for multiple myeloma, frequently complicated by painful neuropathy. The objective of this study was to describe clinical, electrophysiological, and pathological changes of bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy (BiPN) in detail and to correlate pathological changes with pain descriptors. Clinical data, nerve conduction studies, and lower leg skin biopsies were collected from 22 BiPN patients. Skin sections were immunostained using anti-protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antibodies. Cumulative bortezomib dose and clinical assessment scales indicated light-moderate sensory neuropathy. Pain intensity >4 (numerical rating scale) was present in 77% of the patients. Median pain intensity and overall McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) sum scores indicated moderate to severe neuropathic pain. Sural nerve sensory nerve action potentials were abnormal in 86%, while intraepidermal nerve fiber densities of PGP9.5 and CGRP were not significantly different from healthy controls. However, subepidermal nerve fiber density (SENFD) of PGP9.5 was significantly decreased and the axonal swelling ratio, a predictor of neuropathy, and upper dermis nerve fiber density (UDNFD) of PGP9.5, presumably representing sprouting of parasympathetic fibers, were significantly increased in BiPN patients. Finally, significant correlations between UDNFD of PGP9.5 versus the evaluative Pain Rating Index (PRI) and number of words count (NWC) of the MPQ, and significant inverse correlations between SENFD/UDNFD of CGRP versus the sensory-discriminative MPQ PRI/NWC were found. BiPN is a sensory neuropathy, in which neuropathic pain is the most striking clinical finding. Bortezomib-induced neuropathic pain may be driven by sprouting of parasympathetic fibers in the upper dermis and impaired regeneration of CGRP fibers in the subepidermal layer.
Project description:Plastic changes in the CNS in response to peripheral sensory nerve injury are a series of complex processes, ranging from local circuit remodeling to somatotopic reorganization. However, the link between circuit remodeling and somatotopic reorganization remains unclear. We have previously reported that transection of the primary whisker sensory nerve causes the abnormal rewiring of lemniscal fibers (sensory afferents) on a neuron in the mouse whisker sensory thalamus (V2 VPM). In the present study, using transgenic mice whose lemniscal fibers originate from the whisker sensory principle trigeminal nucleus (PrV2) are specifically labeled, we identified that the transection induced retraction of PrV2-originating lemniscal fibers and invasion of those not originating from PrV2 in the V2 VPM. This anatomical remodeling with somatotopic reorganization was highly correlated with the rewiring of lemniscal fibers. Origins of the non-PrV2-origin lemniscal fibers in the V2 VPM included the mandibular subregion of trigeminal nuclei and the dorsal column nuclei (DCNs), which normally represent body parts other than whiskers. The transection also resulted in ectopic receptive fields of V2 VPM neurons and extraterritorial pain behavior on the uninjured mandibular region of the face. The anatomical remodeling, emergence of ectopic receptive fields, and extraterritorial pain behavior all concomitantly developed within a week and lasted more than three months after the transection. Our findings, thus, indicate a strong linkage between these plastic changes after peripheral sensory nerve injury, which may provide a neural circuit basis underlying large-scale reorganization of somatotopic representation and abnormal ectopic sensations.
Project description:Pain is a central feature of soft tissue trauma, which under certain contexts, results in aberrant osteochondral differentiation of tissue-specific stem cells. Here, the role of sensory nerve fibers in this abnormal cell fate decision is investigated using a severe extremity injury model in mice. Soft tissue trauma results in NGF (Nerve growth factor) expression, particularly within perivascular cell types. Consequently, NGF-responsive axonal invasion occurs which precedes osteocartilaginous differentiation. Surgical denervation impedes axonal ingrowth, with significant delays in cartilage and bone formation. Likewise, either deletion of Ngf or two complementary methods to inhibit its receptor TrkA (Tropomyosin receptor kinase A) lead to similar delays in axonal invasion and osteochondral differentiation. Mechanistically, single-cell sequencing suggests a shift from TGFβ to FGF signaling activation among pre-chondrogenic cells after denervation. Finally, analysis of human pathologic specimens and databases confirms the relevance of NGF-TrkA signaling in human disease. In sum, NGF-mediated TrkA-expressing axonal ingrowth drives abnormal osteochondral differentiation after soft tissue trauma. NGF-TrkA signaling inhibition may have dual therapeutic use in soft tissue trauma, both as an analgesic and negative regulator of aberrant stem cell differentiation.
Project description:Cancer-induced bone pain is characterized by moderate to severe ongoing pain that commonly requires the use of opiates. Even when ongoing pain is well controlled, patients can suffer breakthrough pain (BTP), episodic severe pain that "breaks through" the medication. We developed a novel model of cancer-induced BTP using female rats with mammary adenocarcinoma cells sealed within the tibia. We demonstrated previously that rats with bone cancer learn to prefer a context paired with saphenous nerve block to elicit pain relief (i.e., conditioned place preference, CPP), revealing the presence of ongoing pain. Treatment with systemic morphine abolished CPP to saphenous nerve block, demonstrating control of ongoing pain. Here, we show that pairing BTP induced by experimenter-induced movement of the tumor-bearing hindlimb with a context produces conditioned place avoidance (CPA) in rats treated with morphine to control ongoing pain, consistent with clinical observation of BTP. Preventing movement-induced afferent input by saphenous nerve block before, but not after, hindlimb movement blocked movement-induced BTP. Ablation of isolectin B4 (IB4)-binding, but not TRPV1+, sensory afferents eliminated movement-induced BTP, suggesting that input from IB4-binding fibers mediates BTP. Identification of potential molecular targets specific to this population of fibers may allow for the development of peripherally restricted analgesics that control BTP and improve quality of life in patients with skeletal metastases.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We present a novel preclinical measure of movement-induced breakthrough pain (BTP) that is observed in the presence of morphine controlling ongoing pain. Blockade of sensory input before movement prevented BTP, whereas nerve block after movement failed to reverse BTP. These observations indicate that blocking peripheral sensory input may prevent BTP and targeting central sites may be required for pain relief once BTP has been initiated. Preventing sensory input from TRPV1-expressing fibers failed to alter movement-induced BTP. In contrast, preventing sensory input from isolectin B4 (IB4)-binding fibers blocked movement-induced BTP. Therefore, examining molecular targets on this population of nociceptive fibers may prove useful for developing an improved strategy for preventing BTP in cancer patients with skeletal metastases.