Extracellular caspase-6 drives murine inflammatory pain via microglial TNF-? secretion.
ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence indicates that the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain is mediated through spinal cord microglia activation. The intracellular protease caspase-6 (CASP6) is known to regulate neuronal apoptosis and axonal degeneration; however, the contribution of microglia and CASP6 in modulating synaptic transmission and pain is unclear. Here, we found that CASP6 is expressed specifically in C-fiber axonal terminals in the superficial spinal cord dorsal horn. Animals exposed to intraplantar formalin or bradykinin injection exhibited CASP6 activation in the dorsal horn. Casp6-null mice had normal baseline pain, but impaired inflammatory pain responses. Furthermore, formalin-induced second-phase pain was suppressed by spinal injection of CASP6 inhibitor or CASP6-neutralizing antibody, as well as perisciatic nerve injection of CASP6 siRNA. Recombinant CASP6 (rCASP6) induced marked TNF-? release in microglial cultures, and most microglia within the spinal cord expressed Tnfa. Spinal injection of rCASP6 elicited TNF-? production and microglia-dependent pain hypersensitivity. Evaluation of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) revealed that rCASP6 rapidly increased synaptic transmission in spinal cord slices via TNF-? release. Interestingly, the microglial inhibitor minocycline suppressed rCASP6 but not TNF-?-induced synaptic potentiation. Finally, rCASP6-activated microglial culture medium increased EPSCs in spinal cord slices via TNF-?. Together, these data suggest that CASP6 released from axonal terminals regulates microglial TNF-? secretion, synaptic plasticity, and inflammatory pain.
Project description:Chronic pain associated with inflammation is a common clinical problem, and the underlying mechanisms have only begun to be unraveled. GRK2 regulates cellular signaling by promoting G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) desensitization and direct interaction with downstream kinases including p38. The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of GRK2 to regulation of inflammatory pain and to unravel the underlying mechanism. GRK2(+/-) mice with an approximately 50% reduction in GRK2 developed increased and markedly prolonged thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia after carrageenan-induced paw inflammation or after intraplantar injection of the GPCR-binding chemokine CCL3. The effect of reduced GRK2 in specific cells was investigated using Cre-Lox technology. Carrageenan- or CCL3-induced hyperalgesia was increased but not prolonged in mice with decreased GRK2 only in Na(v)1.8 nociceptors. In vitro, reduced neuronal GRK2 enhanced CCL3-induced TRPV1 sensitization. In vivo, CCL3-induced acute hyperalgesia in GRK2(+/-) mice was mediated via TRPV1. Reduced GRK2 in microglia/monocytes only was required and sufficient to transform acute carrageenan- or CCL3-induced hyperalgesia into chronic hyperalgesia. Chronic hyperalgesia in GRK2(+/-) mice was associated with ongoing microglial activation and increased phospho-p38 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) in the spinal cord. Inhibition of spinal cord microglial, p38, or TNF-alpha activity by intrathecal administration of specific inhibitors reversed ongoing hyperalgesia in GRK2(+/-) mice. Microglia/macrophage GRK2 expression was reduced in the lumbar ipsilateral spinal cord during neuropathic pain, underlining the pathophysiological relevance of microglial GRK2. Thus, we identified completely novel cell-specific roles of GRK2 in regulating acute and chronic inflammatory hyperalgesia.
Project description:Microglia play an important role in the central sensitization and chronic pain. However, a direct connection between microglial function and pain development in vivo remains incompletely understood. To address this issue, we applied chemogenetic approach by using CX<sub>3</sub>CR1<sup>creER/+</sup>:R26<sup>LSL-hM4Di/+</sup> transgenic mice to enable expression of inhibitory Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (Gi DREADD) in microglia. We found that microglial Gi DREADD activation inhibited spinal nerve transection (SNT)-induced microglial reactivity as well as chronic pain in both male and female mice. Gi DREADD activation downregulated the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) and its downstream target pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β). Using in vivo spinal cord recording, we found that activation of microglial Gi DREADD attenuated synaptic transmission following SNT. Our results demonstrate that microglial Gi DREADD reduces neuroinflammation, synaptic function and neuropathic pain after SNT. Thus, chemogenetic approaches provide a potential opportunity for interrogating microglial function and neuropathic pain treatment.
Project description:Clinical studies show that chronic pain is accompanied by memory deficits and reduction in hippocampal volume. Experimental studies show that spared nerve injury (SNI) of the sciatic nerve induces long-term potentiation (LTP) at C-fiber synapses in spinal dorsal horn, but impairs LTP in the hippocampus. The opposite changes may contribute to neuropathic pain and memory deficits, respectively. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the functional synaptic changes are unclear. Here, we show that the dendrite lengths and spine densities are reduced significantly in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, but increased in spinal neurokinin-1-positive neurons in mice after SNI, indicating that the excitatory synaptic connectivity is reduced in hippocampus but enhanced in spinal dorsal horn in this neuropathic pain model. Mechanistically, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?) is upregulated in bilateral hippocampus and in ipsilateral spinal dorsal horn, whereas brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is decreased in the hippocampus but increased in the ipsilateral spinal dorsal horn after SNI. Importantly, the SNI-induced opposite changes in synaptic connectivity and BDNF expression are prevented by genetic deletion of TNF receptor 1 in vivo and are mimicked by TNF-? in cultured slices. Furthermore, SNI activated microglia in both spinal dorsal horn and hippocampus; pharmacological inhibition or genetic ablation of microglia prevented the region-dependent synaptic changes, neuropathic pain, and memory deficits induced by SNI. The data suggest that neuropathic pain involves different structural synaptic alterations in spinal and hippocampal neurons that are mediated by overproduction of TNF-? and microglial activation and may underlie chronic pain and memory deficits.Chronic pain is often accompanied by memory deficits. Previous studies have shown that peripheral nerve injury produces both neuropathic pain and memory deficits and induces long-term potentiation (LTP) at C-fiber synapses in spinal dorsal horn (SDH) but inhibits LTP in hippocampus. The opposite changes in synaptic plasticity may contribute to chronic pain and memory deficits, respectively. However, the structural and molecular bases of these alterations of synaptic plasticity are unclear. Here, we show that the complexity of excitatory synaptic connectivity and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression are enhanced in SDH but reduced in the hippocampus in neuropathic pain and the opposite changes depend on tumor necrosis factor-alpha/tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 signaling and microglial activation. The region-dependent synaptic alterations may underlie chronic neuropathic pain and memory deficits induced by peripheral nerve injury.
Project description:Accumulating evidence suggests that spinal cord astrocytes play an important role in neuropathic pain sensitization by releasing astrocytic mediators (e.g. cytokines, chemokines and growth factors). However, it remains unclear how astrocytes control the release of astrocytic mediators and sustain late-phase neuropathic pain. Astrocytic connexin-43 (now known as GJ1) has been implicated in gap junction and hemichannel communication of cytosolic contents through the glial syncytia and to the extracellular space, respectively. Connexin-43 also plays an essential role in facilitating the development of neuropathic pain, yet the mechanism for this contribution remains unknown. In this study, we investigated whether nerve injury could upregulate connexin-43 to sustain late-phase neuropathic pain by releasing chemokine from spinal astrocytes. Chronic constriction injury elicited a persistent upregulation of connexin-43 in spinal astrocytes for >3 weeks. Spinal (intrathecal) injection of carbenoxolone (a non-selective hemichannel blocker) and selective connexin-43 blockers (connexin-43 mimetic peptides (43)Gap26 and (37,43)Gap27), as well as astroglial toxin but not microglial inhibitors, given 3 weeks after nerve injury, effectively reduced mechanical allodynia, a cardinal feature of late-phase neuropathic pain. In cultured astrocytes, TNF-? elicited marked release of the chemokine CXCL1, and the release was blocked by carbenoxolone, Gap26/Gap27, and connexin-43 small interfering RNA. TNF-? also increased connexin-43 expression and hemichannel activity, but not gap junction communication in astrocyte cultures prepared from cortices and spinal cords. Spinal injection of TNF-?-activated astrocytes was sufficient to induce persistent mechanical allodynia, and this allodynia was suppressed by CXCL1 neutralization, CXCL1 receptor (CXCR2) antagonist, and pretreatment of astrocytes with connexin-43 small interfering RNA. Furthermore, nerve injury persistently increased excitatory synaptic transmission (spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents) in spinal lamina IIo nociceptive synapses in the late phase, and this increase was suppressed by carbenoxolone and Gap27, and recapitulated by CXCL1. Together, our findings demonstrate a novel mechanism of astrocytic connexin-43 to enhance spinal cord synaptic transmission and maintain neuropathic pain in the late-phase via releasing chemokines.
Project description:Activation of spinal cord microglia contributes to the development of peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying microglial function in neuropathic pain are not fully understood. We identified that the voltage-gated proton channel Hv1, which is functionally expressed in spinal microglia, was significantly increased after spinal nerve transection (SNT). Hv1 mediated voltage-gated proton currents in spinal microglia and mice lacking Hv1 (Hv1 KO) display attenuated pain hypersensitivities after SNT compared with wildtype (WT) mice. In addition, microglial production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequent astrocyte activation in the spinal cord was reduced in Hv1 KO mice after SNT. Cytokine screening and immunostaining further revealed that IFN-γ expression was compromised in spinal astrocytes in Hv1 KO mice. These results demonstrate that Hv1 proton channel contributes to microglial ROS production, astrocyte activation, IFN-γ upregulation, and subsequent pain hypersensitivities after SNT. This study suggests Hv1-dependent microglia-astrocyte communication in pain hypersensitivities and identifies Hv1 as a novel therapeutic target for alleviating neuropathic pain.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a severe neurological disorder with many disabling consequences, including persistent neuropathic pain, which develops in about 40 % of SCI patients and is induced and sustained by excessive and uncontrolled spinal neuroinflammation. Here, we have evaluated the effects of lipoxin A4 (LXA4), a member of a unique class of endogenous lipid mediators with both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, on spinal neuroinflammation and chronic pain in an experimental model of SCI.Spinal hemisection at T10 was carried out in adult male CD1 mice and Wistar rats. To test if LXA4 can reduce neuroinflammation and neuropathic pain, each animal received two intrathecal injections of LXA4 (300 pmol) or vehicle at 4 and 24 h after SCI. Sensitivity to mechanical stimulation of the hind paws was evaluated using von Frey monofilaments, and neuroinflammation was tested by measuring the mRNA and/or protein expression levels of glial markers and cytokines in the spinal cord samples after SCI. Also, microglia cultures prepared from murine cortical tissue were used to assess the direct effects of LXA4 on microglial activation and release of pro-inflammatory TNF-?.LXA4 treatment caused significant reductions in the intensity of mechanical pain hypersensitivity and spinal expression levels of microglial markers and pro-inflammatory cytokines induced by SCI, when compared to rodents receiving control vehicle injections. Notably, the increased expressions of the microglial marker IBA-1 and of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-? were the most affected by the LXA4 treatment. Furthermore, cortical microglial cultures expressed ALX/FPR2 receptors for LXA4 and displayed potentially anti-inflammatory responses upon challenge with LXA4.Collectively, our results suggest that LXA4 can effectively modulate microglial activation and TNF-? release through ALX/FPR2 receptors, ultimately reducing neuropathic pain in rodents after spinal cord hemisection. The dual anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of LXA4, allied to its endogenous nature and safety profile, may render this lipid mediator as new therapeutic approach for treating various neuroinflammatory disorders and chronic pain with only limited side effects.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Spinal cord microglia plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. However, the mechanisms underlying spinal microglial activation during neuropathic pain remain incompletely determined. Here, we investigated the role of Pellino1 (Peli1) and its interplay with spinal microglial activation in neuropathic pain.<h4>Methods</h4>In this study, we examined the effects of Peli1 on pain hypersensitivity and spinal microglial activation after chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve in mice. The molecular mechanisms involved in Peli1-mediated hyperalgesia were determined by western blot, immunofluorescence, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We utilized immunoprecipitation to examine the ubiquitination of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) following CCI. In addition, we explored the effect of Peli1 on BV2 microglial cells in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge.<h4>Results</h4>We found that CCI induced a significant increase in the levels of Peli1, which was present in the great majority of microglia in the spinal dorsal horn. Our results showed that spinal Peli1 contributed to the induction and maintenance of CCI-induced neuropathic pain. The biochemical data revealed that CCI-induced Peli1 in the spinal cord significantly increased mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation, activated nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B), and enhanced the production of proinflammatory cytokines, accompanied by spinal microglial activation. Peli1 additionally was able to promote K63-linked ubiquitination of TRAF6 in the ipsilateral spinal cord following CCI. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Peli1 in microglial cells significantly enhanced inflammatory reactions after LPS treatment.<h4>Conclusion</h4>These results suggest that the upregulation of spinal Peli1 is essential for the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain via Peli1-dependent mobilization of spinal cord microglia, activation of MAPK/NF-?B signaling, and production of proinflammatory cytokines. Modulation of Peli1 may serve as a potential approach for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
Project description:Although microglia have been implicated in nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain, the manner by which injured sensory neurons engage microglia remains unclear. We found that peripheral nerve injury induced de novo expression of colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) in injured sensory neurons. CSF1 was transported to the spinal cord, where it targeted the microglial CSF1 receptor (CSF1R). Cre-mediated sensory neuron deletion of Csf1 completely prevented nerve injury-induced mechanical hypersensitivity and reduced microglial activation and proliferation. In contrast, intrathecal injection of CSF1 induced mechanical hypersensitivity and microglial proliferation. Nerve injury also upregulated CSF1 in motoneurons, where it was required for ventral horn microglial activation and proliferation. Downstream of CSF1R, we found that the microglial membrane adaptor protein DAP12 was required for both nerve injury- and intrathecal CSF1-induced upregulation of pain-related microglial genes and the ensuing pain, but not for microglial proliferation. Thus, both CSF1 and DAP12 are potential targets for the pharmacotherapy of neuropathic pain.
Project description:Recent studies have implicated chemokines in microglial activation and pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. C-X-C motif chemokine 13 (CXCL13) is a B lymphocyte chemoattractant that activates CXCR5. Using the spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model of neuropathic pain, we found that CXCL13 was persistently upregulated in spinal cord neurons after SNL, resulting in spinal astrocyte activation via CXCR5 in mice. shRNA-mediated inhibition of CXCL13 in the spinal cord persistently attenuated SNL-induced neuropathic pain. Interestingly, CXCL13 expression was suppressed by miR-186-5p, a microRNA that colocalized with CXCL13 and was downregulated after SNL. Spinal overexpression of miR-186-5p decreased CXCL13 expression, alleviating neuropathic pain. Furthermore, SNL induced CXCR5 expression in spinal astrocytes, and neuropathic pain was abrogated in Cxcr5-/- mice. CXCR5 expression induced by SNL was required for the SNL-induced activation of spinal astrocytes and microglia. Intrathecal injection of CXCL13 was sufficient to induce pain hypersensitivity and astrocyte activation via CXCR5 and ERK. Finally, intrathecal injection of CXCL13-activated astrocytes induced mechanical allodynia in naive mice. Collectively, our findings reveal a neuronal/astrocytic interaction in the spinal cord by which neuronally produced CXCL13 activates astrocytes via CXCR5 to facilitate neuropathic pain. Thus, miR-186-5p and CXCL13/CXCR5-mediated astrocyte signaling may be suitable therapeutic targets for neuropathic pain.
Project description:Prostaglandins (PGs) are typical lipid mediators that play a role in homeostasis and disease. They are synthesized from arachidonic acid by cyclooxygenase 1 (COX1) and COX2. Although COX2 has been reported to be upregulated in the spinal cord after nerve injury, its expression and functional roles in neuropathic pain remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the expression of Cox2, PGI2 synthase (Pgis), and prostaglandin I2 receptor (IP receptor) mRNA in the rat spinal cord after spared nerve injury (SNI). Levels of Cox2 and Pgis mRNA increased in endothelial cells from 24 to 48 h after nerve injury. IP receptor mRNA was constitutively expressed in dorsal horn neurons. A COX2 inhibitor and IP receptor antagonists attenuated pain behavior in the early phase of neuropathic pain. Furthermore, we examined the relationship between COX2 and tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF?) in the spinal cord of a rat SNI model. Levels of TNF? mRNA transiently increased in the spinal microglia 24 h after SNI. The TNF receptors Tnfr1 and Tnfr2 mRNA were colocalized with COX2. Intrathecal injection of TNF? induced Cox2 and Pgis mRNA expression in endothelial cells. These results revealed that microglia-derived TNF? induced COX2 and PGIS expression in spinal endothelial cells and that endothelial PGI2 played a critical role in neuropathic pain via neuronal IP receptor. These findings further suggest that the glia-endothelial cell interaction of the neurovascular unit via transient TNF? is involved in the generation of neuropathic pain.