A better understanding of the mechanisms linked to chemokine pronociceptive effects is essential for the development of new strategies to better prevent and treat chronic pain. Among chemokines, MCP‐1/CCL2 involvement in neuropathic pain processing is now established. However, the mechanisms by which MCP‐1/CCL2 exerts its pronociceptive effects are still poorly understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that MCP‐1/CCL2 can alter pain neurotransmission in healthy rats. Using immunohistochemical studies, we first show that CCL2 is constitutively expressed by primary afferent neurons and their processes in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. We also observe that CCL2 is co‐localized with pain‐related peptides (SP and CGRP) and capsaicin receptor (VR1). Accordingly, using in vitro superfusion system of lumbar dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord explants of healthy rats, we show that potassium or capsaicin evoke calcium‐dependent release of CCL2. In vivo, we demonstrate that intrathecal administration of CCL2 to healthy rats produces both thermal hyperalgesia and sustained mechanical allodynia (up to four consecutive days). These pronociceptive effects of CCL2 are completely prevented by the selective CCR2 antagonist (INCB3344), indicating that CCL2‐induced pain facilitation is elicited via direct spinal activation of CCR2 receptor. Therefore, preventing the activation of CCR2 might provide a fruitful strategy for treating pain.
Peripheral nerve lesion leads to the production of interleukin 6 (IL‐6)‐related neuropoietic cytokines involved in nerve protection and regeneration. This family of cytokines mainly signal through the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway that is locally activated in injured nerves. IL‐6 is also involved in pain that frequently arises from peripheral nerve lesion. We investigated the possible activation of this major IL‐6 signaling system in the spinal cord after peripheral nerve injury and its role in neuropathic pain. Ligation of L5–L6 spinal nerves (SNL) evoked an accumulation of active, phosphorylated form of STAT3 in microglial cells of dorsal spinal cord mostly in projection areas of injured nerves. SNL resulted also in a massive induction of IL‐6 mRNA expression in dorsal root ganglia and increased concentration of IL‐6 in dorsal spinal cord. Intrathecal injection of anti‐rat IL‐6 antibodies prevented the SNL‐induced accumulation of phospho‐STAT3 in the spinal cord. STAT3 pathway blockade with Janus kinase 2 inhibitor AG490 attenuated both mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in SNL rats. These data show that in response to SNL injury Janus kinase/STAT3 system is activated mainly through IL‐6 signaling in spinal microglia and that this transduction pathway participates in development of pain associated with nerve alteration.
CCL2 chemokine and its receptor CCR2 may contribute to neuropathic pain development. We tested the hypothesis that injury to peripheral nerves triggers CCL2 release from afferents in the dorsal horn spinal cord (DHSC), leading to pronociceptive effects, involving the production of proinflammatory factors, in particular. Consistent with the release of CCL2 from primary afferents, electron microscopy showed the CCL2 immunoreactivity in glomerular boutons and secretory vesicles in the DHSC of naive rats. Through the ex vivo superfusion of DHSC slices, we demonstrated that the rate of CCL2 secretion was much lower in neonatal capsaicin-treated rats than in controls. Thus, much of the CCL2 released in the DHSC originates from nociceptive fibers bearing TRPV1 ( . These pathological pain-associated changes in the DHSC were mimicked by the intrathecal injection of exogenous CCL2 in naive rats and were prevented by the administration of INCB3344 or ERK inhibitor (PD98059). Finally, mechanical allodynia, which was fully developed 2 weeks after SN-CCI in rats, was attenuated by the intrathecal injection of INCB3344. Our data demonstrate that CCL2 has the typical characteristics of a neuronal mediator involved in nociceptive signal processing and that antagonists of its receptor are promising agents from treating neuropathic pain.
Responses resulting from injury to the trigeminal nerve exhibit differences compared with those caused by lesion of other peripheral nerves. With the aim of elucidating the physiopathological mechanisms underlying cephalic versus extracephalic neuropathic pain, we determined the time course expression of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-1␤, neuronal injury (ATF3), macrophage/microglial (OX-42), and satellite cells/astrocyte (GFAP) markers in central and ganglion tissues in rats that underwent unilateral chronic constriction injury (CCI) to either infraorbital nerve (IoN) (cephalic area) or sciatic nerve (SN) (extracephalic area). Whereas CCI induced microglial activation in both models, we observed a concomitant upregulation of IL-6 and ATF3 in the ipsilateral dorsal horn of the lumbar cord in SN-CCI rats but not in the ipsilateral spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve (Sp5c) in IoN-CCI rats. Preemptive treatment with minocycline (daily administration of 20 mg/kg, i.p., for 2 weeks) partially prevented pain behavior and microglial activation in SN-CCI rats but was ineffective in IoN-CCI rats. We show that IL-6 can upregulate OX-42 and ATF3 expression in cultured microglia and neurons from spinal cord, respectively, as well as in the dorsal horn after acute intrathecal administration of the cytokine. We propose that IL-6 could be one of the promoters of the signaling cascade leading to abnormal pain behavior in SN-CCI but not IoN-CCI rats. Our data further support the idea that different pathophysiological mechanisms contribute to the development of cephalic versus extracephalic neuropathic pain.
Chronic stressful events induce biochemical, physiological and psychological changes, resulting in stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Using repeated social defeat as a stressful event model, we show that this preclinical paradigm induces a transient increase in the expression of the genes encoding the pro-inflammatory molecules iNOS and COX-2. We provide the first demonstration that chronic stress affects spinal plasticity through a mechanism involving local neuroinflammation. The functional consequences of such neuroinflammation are associated with a transient decrease in the mechanical nociceptive threshold. Administration of the cholecystokinin(CCK)-2 receptor antagonist, CI-988, directly into the Rostral Ventromedial Medulla reverses the chronic stress-induced decrease in the nociceptive threshold. These data strongly suggest that chronic stress induces a spinal neuroinflammation associated with transient sensory hypersensitivity involving the activation of CCK-dependent nociceptive descending facilitatory pathways. Pharmacological data show that chronic social stress-induced long-lasting state of anxiety is not responsible for maintaining the spinal neuroinflammation and, therefore, for the associated sensory hypersensitivity. Conversely, an evaluation of pain-related behavior in the formalin model indicates that anxiety is directly related to prolonged hyperalgesia prevented by systemic benzodiazepine or CCK-2 receptor antagonist treatments. The present study highlights the adverse effects of chronic stress on spinal neuroinflammation triggering sensory hypersensitivity. Exploration of this phenomenon points out the divergence between pain sensitivity and anxiety-induced hyperalgesia, which is in agreement with clinical observations. Altogether, these data open up new perspectives for clinical research devoted to the evaluation and treatment of pain in anxio-depressive patients.
Changes in the nerve's microenvironment and local inflammation resulting from peripheral nerve injury participate in nerve sensitization and neuropathic pain development. Taking part in these early changes, disruption of the blood-nerve barrier (BNB) allows for infiltration of immunocytes and promotes the neuroinflammation. However, molecular mechanisms engaged in vascular endothelial cells (VEC) dysfunction and BNB alterations remain unclear. In vivo, BNB permeability was assessed following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the rat sciatic nerve (ScN) and differential expression of markers of VEC functional state, inflammation, and intracellular signaling was followed from 3 hours to 2 months postinjury. Several mechanisms potentially involved in functional alterations of VEC were evaluated in vitro using human VEC (hCMEC/D3), then confronted to in vivo physiopathological conditions. CCI of the ScN led to a rapid disruption of endoneurial vascular barrier that was correlated to a decreased production of endothelial tight-junction proteins and an early and sustained alteration of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway. In vitro, activation of Toll-like receptor 4 in VEC downregulated the components of Hh pathway and altered the endothelial functional state. Inhibition of Hh signaling in the ScN of naive rats mimicked the biochemical and functional alterations observed after CCI and was, on its own, sufficient to evoke local neuroinflammation and sustained mechanical allodynia. Alteration of the Hh signaling pathway in VEC associated with peripheral nerve injury, is involved in BNB disruption and local inflammation, and could thus participate in the early changes leading to the peripheral nerve sensitization and, ultimately, neuropathic pain development.
Neuropathic pain developing after peripheral nerve injury is associated with altered neuronal and glial cell functions in the spinal cord. Activated glia produces algogenic mediators, exacerbating pain. Among the different intracellular pathways possibly involved in the modified glial function, the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) system is of particular interest, as numerous genes encoding inflammation- and pain-related molecules are controlled by this transcription factor. NF-kappaB is a pleiotropic factor also involved in central nervous system homeostasy. To study its role in chronic pain, it is thus essential to inhibit the NF-kappaB pathway selectively in activated spinal glial cells. Here, we show that when restricted to spinal cord and targeted to glial cells, lentiviral vector-mediated delivery of NF-kappaB super- repressor IkappaBalpha resulted in an inhibition of the NF-kappaB pathway activated in the rat spinal cord after sciatic nerve injury (chronic constriction injury, CCI). Concomitantly, IkappaBalpha overproduction prevented the enhanced expression of interleukin-6 and of inducible nitric oxide synthase associated with chronic constriction injury and resulted in prolonged antihyperalgesic and antiallodynic effects. These data show that targeted blockade of NF-kappaB activity in spinal glia efficiently alleviates pain behavior in CCI rats, demonstrating the active participation of the glial NF-kappaB pathway in the development of neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury.
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.