- 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.