- R-flurbiprofen reduces neuropathic pain in rodents by restoring endogenous cannabinoids (2010)
- Background: R-flurbiprofen, one of the enantiomers of flurbiprofen racemate, is inactive with respect to cyclooxygenase inhibition, but shows analgesic properties without relevant toxicity. Its mode of action is still unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings: We show that R-flurbiprofen reduces glutamate release in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord evoked by sciatic nerve injury and thereby alleviates pain in sciatic nerve injury models of neuropathic pain in rats and mice. This is mediated by restoring the balance of endocannabinoids (eCB), which is disturbed following peripheral nerve injury in the DRGs, spinal cord and forebrain. The imbalance results from transcriptional adaptations of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and NAPE-phospholipase D, i.e. the major enzymes involved in anandamide metabolism and synthesis, respectively. R-flurbiprofen inhibits FAAH activity and normalizes NAPE-PLD expression. As a consequence, R-Flurbiprofen improves endogenous cannabinoid mediated effects, indicated by the reduction of glutamate release, increased activity of the anti-inflammatory transcription factor PPAR gamma and attenuation of microglia activation. Antinociceptive effects are lost by combined inhibition of CB1 and CB2 receptors and partially abolished in CB1 receptor deficient mice. R-flurbiprofen does however not cause changes of core body temperature which is a typical indicator of central effects of cannabinoid-1 receptor agonists. Conclusion: Our results suggest that R-flurbiprofen improves the endogenous mechanisms to regain stability after axonal injury and to fend off chronic neuropathic pain by modulating the endocannabinoid system and thus constitutes an attractive, novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of chronic, intractable pain.
- Progranulin contributes to endogenous mechanisms of pain defense after nerve injury in mice (2012)
- Progranulin haploinsufficiency is associated with frontotemporal dementia in humans. Deficiency of progranulin led to exaggerated inflammation and premature aging in mice. The role of progranulin in adaptations to nerve injury and neuropathic pain are still unknown. Here we found that progranulin is up-regulated after injury of the sciatic nerve in the mouse ipsilateral dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord, most prominently in the microglia surrounding injured motor neurons. Progranulin knockdown by continuous intrathecal spinal delivery of small interfering RNA after sciatic nerve injury intensified neuropathic pain-like behaviour and delayed the recovery of motor functions. Compared to wild-type mice, progranulin-deficient mice developed more intense nociceptive hypersensitivity after nerve injury. The differences escalated with aging. Knockdown of progranulin reduced the survival of dissociated primary neurons and neurite outgrowth, whereas addition of recombinant progranulin rescued primary dorsal root ganglia neurons from cell death induced by nerve growth factor withdrawal. Thus, up-regulation of progranulin after neuronal injury may reduce neuropathic pain and help motor function recovery, at least in part, by promoting survival of injured neurons and supporting regrowth. A deficiency in this mechanism may increase the risk for injury-associated chronic pain.
- Inter-strain differences of serotonergic inhibitory pain control in inbred mice (2010)
- Background: Descending inhibitory pain control contributes to the endogenous defense against chronic pain and involves noradrenergic and serotonergic systems. The clinical efficacy of antidepressants suggests that serotonin may be particularly relevant for neuropathic pain conditions. Serotonergic signaling is regulated by synthesis, metabolisms, reuptake and receptors. To address the complexity, we used inbred mouse strains, C57BL/6J, 129 Sv, DBA/2J and Balb/c, which differ in brain serotonin levels. Results: Serotonin analysis after nerve injury revealed inter-strain differences in the adaptation of descending serotonergic fibers. Upregulation of spinal cord and midbrain serotonin was apparent only in 129 Sv mice and was associated with attenuated nerve injury evoked hyperalgesia and allodynia in this strain. The increase of dorsal horn serotonin was blocked by hemisectioning of descending fibers but not by rhizotomy of primary afferents indicating a midbrain source. Para-chlorophenylalanine-mediated serotonin depletion in spinal cord and midbrain intensified pain hypersensitivity in the nerve injury model. In contrast, chronic inflammation of the hindpaw did not evoke equivalent changes in serotonin levels in the spinal cord and midbrain and nociceptive thresholds dropped in a parallel manner in all strains. Conclusion: The results suggest that chronic nerve injury evoked hypernociception may be contributed by genetic differences of descending serotonergic inhibitory control.
- Nerve injury evoked loss of latexin expression in spinal cord neurons contributes to the development of neuropathic pain (2011)
- Nerve injury leads to sensitization mechanisms in the peripheral and central nervous system which involve transcriptional and post-transcriptional modifications in sensory nerves. To assess protein regulations in the spinal cord after injury of the sciatic nerve in the Spared Nerve Injury model (SNI) we performed a proteomic analysis using 2D-difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) technology. Among approximately 2300 protein spots separated on each gel we detected 55 significantly regulated proteins after SNI whereof 41 were successfully identified by MALDI-TOF MS. Out of the proteins which were regulated in the DIGE analyses after SNI we focused on the carboxypeptidase A inhibitor latexin because protease dysfunctions contribute to the development of neuropathic pain. Latexin protein expression was reduced after SNI which could be confirmed by Western Blot analysis, quantitative RT-PCR and in-situ hybridisation. The decrease of latexin was associated with an increase of the activity of carboxypeptidase A indicating that the balance between latexin and carboxypeptidase A was impaired in the spinal cord after peripheral nerve injury due to a loss of latexin expression in spinal cord neurons. This may contribute to the development of cold allodynia because normalization of neuronal latexin expression in the spinal cord by AAV-mediated latexin transduction or administration of a small molecule carboxypeptidase A inhibitor significantly reduced acetone-evoked nociceptive behavior after SNI. Our results show the usefulness of proteomics as a screening tool to identify novel mechanisms of nerve injury evoked hypernociception and suggest that carboxypeptidase A inhibition might be useful to reduce cold allodynia.