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Chemogenetic Regulation of CX3CR1-Expressing Microglia Using Gi-DREADD Exerts Sex-Dependent Anti-Allodynic Effects in Mouse Models of Neuropathic Pain.


ABSTRACT: Despite growing evidence suggesting that spinal microglia play an important role in the molecular mechanism underlying experimental neuropathic pain (NP) in male rodents, evidence regarding the sex-dependent role of these microglia in NP is insufficient. In this study, we evaluated the effects of microglial regulation on NP using Gi-designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (Gi-DREADD) driven by the microglia-specific Cx3cr1 promoter. For the Cre-dependent expression of human Gi-coupled M4 muscarinic receptors (hM4Di) in CX3C chemokine receptor 1-expressing (CX3CR1+) cells, R26-LSL-hM4Di-DREADD mice were crossed with CX3CR1-Cre mice. Mouse models of NP were generated by partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSL) and treatment with anti-cancer agent paclitaxel (PTX) or oxaliplatin (OXA), and mechanical allodynia was evaluated using the von Frey test. Immunohistochemistry revealed that hM4Di was specifically expressed on Iba1+ microglia, but not on astrocytes or neurons in the spinal dorsal horn of CX3CR1-hM4Di mice. PSL-induced mechanical allodynia was significantly attenuated by systemic (intraperitoneal, i.p.) administration of 10 mg/kg of clozapine N-oxide (CNO), a hM4Di-selective ligand, in male CX3CR1-hM4Di mice. The mechanical threshold in naive CX3CR1-hM4Di mice was not altered by i.p. administration of CNO. Consistently, local (intrathecal, i.t.) administration of CNO (20 nmol) significantly relieved PSL-induced mechanical allodynia in male CX3CR1-hM4Di mice. However, neither i.p. nor i.t. administration of CNO affected PSL-induced mechanical allodynia in female CX3CR1-hM4Di mice. Both i.p. and i.t. administration of CNO relieved PTX-induced mechanical allodynia in male CX3CR1-hM4Di mice, and a limited effect of i.p. CNO was observed in female CX3CR1-hM4Di mice. Unlike PTX-induced allodynia, OXA-induced mechanical allodynia was slightly improved, but not significantly relieved, by i.p. administration of CNO in both male and female CX3CR1-hM4Di mice. These results suggest that spinal microglia can be regulated by Gi-DREADD and support the notion that CX3CR1+ spinal microglia play sex-dependent roles in nerve injury-induced NP; however, their roles may vary among different models of NP.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7318895 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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