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.
Extensive studies in rodents suggest that serotonin (5-HT) modulates nociceptive responses through the stimulation of several receptor types. However, it remains to demonstrate that these receptors participate in the control of nociception under physiological conditions. Pain behaviors of mutants which do not express 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A or 5-HT3A receptors, or lacking the 5-HT transporter, compared to paired wild-type mice of the same genetic background, were examined using validated tests based on different sensory modalities. Mechanical (von Frey filaments, tail pressure, tail clip tests), thermal (radiant heat, 46 degrees C water bath, hot-plate test) and formalin-induced nociception were determined in 2- to 3-month-old males. 5-HT1A knock-out mice differed from wild-types by higher thermal sensitivity (hot-plate test only), and 5-HT1B knock-out mice by higher thermal and formalin sensitivity. Both 5-HT2A and 5-HT3A knock-out mice differed from wild-types by a dramatic decrease in the formalin-induced nociceptive responses for phase II (16-45 min after injection/inflammatory phase). In contrast, neither mechanical, thermal nor formalin-induced nociception differed between mutants lacking the 5-HT transporter and paired wild-type mice. Although differences in spontaneous locomotor activity in 5-HT1B-/- (increase) and 5-HT3A-/- (decrease) knock-out mice versus paired wild-types might have confounded differences in nociception, acute 5-HT receptor blockade by selective antagonists was found to replicate in wild-type mice the effects on pain behavior, but not on locomotor activity, of the respective gene knock-out in mutants. These results support the conclusion that the complex control of pain mechanisms by 5-HT, acting at multiple receptors, is physiologically relevant in mice.
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.
1 Peripheral lesion to the trigeminal nerve may induce severe pain states. Several lines of evidence have suggested that the antimigraine e ect of the triptans with 5-HT 1B/1D receptor agonist properties may result from inhibition of nociceptive transmission in the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve by these drugs. On this basis, we have assessed the potential antinociceptive e ects of sumatriptan and zolmitriptan, compared to dihydroergotamine (DHE), in a rat model of trigeminal neuropathic pain. 2 Chronic constriction injury was produced by two loose ligatures of the infraorbital nerve on the right side. Responsiveness to von Frey ®lament stimulation of the vibrissal pad was used to evaluate allodynia. 3 Two weeks after ligatures, rats with a chronic constriction of the right infraorbital nerve displayed bilateral mechanical hyper-responsiveness to von Frey ®lament stimulation of the vibrissal pad with a mean threshold of 0.38+0.04 g on the injured side and of 0.43+0.04 g on the contralateral (left) side (versus 512.5 g on both sides in the same rats prior to nerve constriction injury). 4 Sumatriptan at a clinically relevant dose (100 mg kg 71 , s.c.) led to a signi®cant reduction of the mechanical allodynia-like behaviour on both the injured and the contralateral sides (peak-e ects 6.3+1.1 g and 4.4+0.7 g, respectively). A more pronounced e ect was obtained with zolmitriptan (100 mg kg 71 , s.c.) (peak-e ects: 7.4+0.9 g and 3.2+1.3 g) whereas DHE (50 ± 100 mg kg 71 , i.v.) was less active (peak-e ect *1.5 g). 5 Subcutaneous pretreatment with the 5-HT 1B/1D receptor antagonist, GR 127935 (3 mg kg 71 ), prevented the anti-allodynia-like e ects of triptans and DHE. Pretreatment with the 5-HT 1A receptor antagonist, WAY 100635 (2 mg kg 71 , s.c.), did not alter the e ect of triptans but signi®cantly enhanced that of DHE (peak e ect 4.3+0.5 g). 6 In a rat model of peripheral neuropathic pain, which consisted of a unilateral loose constriction of the sciatic nerve, neither sumatriptan (50 ± 300 mg kg 71 ) nor zolmitriptan (50 ± 300 mg kg 71 ) modi®ed the thresholds for paw withdrawal and vocalization in response to noxious mechanical stimulation. 7 These results support the rationale for exploring the clinical e cacy of brain penetrant 5-HT 1B/1D receptor agonists as analgesics to reduce certain types of trigeminal neuropathic pain in humans.
Trigeminal neuropathic pain represents a real challenge to therapy because commonly used drugs are devoid of real beneficial effect or patients frequently become intolerant or refractory to some of these compounds. In a rat model of trigeminal neuropathic pain, which shares numerous similarities with human trigeminal neuralgia and trigeminal neuropathic pain, we used a genomic herpes simplex virus-derived vector (HSVLatEnk) to examine the possible effect of a local overproduction of proenkephalin A (PA) targeted to the trigeminal primary sensory neurons. Unilateral peripheral inoculation of recombinant vectors on the vibrissal pad territory resulted in an about ninefold increase in proenkephalin A mRNA levels in trigeminal ganglion ipsilateral to the infected side. Transgene-derived met-enkephalin accumulated in numerous nerve cell bodies of trigeminal ganglion and was transported through the sensory nerve fibers located in the infraorbital nerve. Bilateral mechanical hyperresponsiveness, which developed 2 weeks after chronic constrictive injury of the left infraorbital nerve, was significantly attenuated in animals overproducing PA in the trigeminal ganglion ipsilateral to the lesioned infraorbital nerve. This antiallodynic effect was reversed by both the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone and the peripherally acting antagonist naloxone methiodide. Our data demonstrate that the local overproduction of PA-derived peptides in trigeminal ganglion sensory neurons evoked a potent antiallodynic effect through the stimulation of mainly peripherally located opioid receptors and suggest that targeted delivery of endogenous opioids may be of interest for the treatment of some severe forms of neuropathic pain.
Striatal cholinergic interneurons play a crucial role in the control of movement as well as in motivational and learning aspects of behaviour. Neuropeptides regulate striatal cholinergic transmission and particularly activation of mu opioid receptor (MOR) inhibits acetylcholine (ACh) release in the dorsal striatum. In the present study we investigated whether this cholinergic transmission could be modulated by an enkephalin/MOR direct process. We show that mRNA and protein of MORs are expressed by cholinergic interneurons in the limbic/prefrontal territory but not by those in the sensorimotor territory of the dorsal striatum. These MORs are functional because potassium-evoked release of ACh from striatal synaptosomes was dose-dependently reduced by a selective MOR agonist, this effect being suppressed by a MOR antagonist. The MOR regulation of cholinergic interneurons presented a diurnal variation. (i) The percentage of cholinergic interneurons containing MORs that was 32% at the beginning of the light period (morning) increased to 80% in the afternoon. (ii) The MOR-mediated inhibition of synaptosomal ACh release was higher in the afternoon than in the morning. (iii) While preproenkephalin mRNA levels remained stable, enkephalin tissue content was the lowest (-32%) in the afternoon when the spontaneous (+35%) and the N-methyl-d-aspartate-evoked (+140%) releases of enkephalin (from microsuperfused slices) were the highest. Therefore, by acting on MORs present on cholinergic interneurons, endogenously released enkephalin reduces ACh release. This direct enkephalin/MOR regulation of cholinergic transmission that operates only in the limbic/prefrontal territory of the dorsal striatum might contribute to information processing in fronto-cortico-basal ganglia circuits.
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