Inhibition of peripheral macrophages by nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists suppresses spinal microglial activation and neuropathic pain in mice with peripheral nerve injury


Abstract Background Neuro–immune interaction underlies chronic neuroinflammation and aberrant sensory processing resulting in neuropathic pain. Despite the pathological significance of both neuroinflammation-driven peripheral sensitization and spinal sensitization, the functional relationship between these two distinct events has not been understood. Methods In this study, we determined whether inhibition of inflammatory macrophages by administration of α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists improves neuropathic pain and affects microglial activation in the spinal dorsal horn (SDH) in mice following partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSL). Expression levels of neuroinflammatory molecules were evaluated by RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry, and PSL-induced mechanical allodynia was defined by the von Frey test. Results Flow cytometry revealed that CD11b+ F4/80+ macrophages were accumulated in the injured sciatic nerve (SCN) after PSL. TC-2559, a full agonist for α4β2 nAChR, suppressed the upregulation of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in the injured SCN after PSL and attenuated lipopolysaccharide-induced upregulation of IL-1β in cultured macrophages. Systemic (subcutaneous, s.c.) administration of TC-2559 during either the early (days 0–3) or middle/late (days 7–10) phase of PSL improved mechanical allodynia. Moreover, local (perineural, p.n.) administration of TC-2559 and sazetidine A, a partial agonist for α4β2 nAChR, during either the early or middle phase of PSL improved mechanical allodynia. However, p.n. administration of sazetidine A during the late (days 21–24) phase did not show the attenuating effect, whereas p.n. administration of TC-2559 during this phase relieved mechanical allodynia. Most importantly, p.n. administration of TC-2559 significantly suppressed morphological activation of Iba1+ microglia and decreased the upregulation of inflammatory microglia-dominant molecules, such as CD68, interferon regulatory factor 5, and IL-1β in the SDH after PSL. Conclusion These findings support the notion that pharmacological inhibition of inflammatory macrophages using an α4β2 nAChR agonist exhibit a wide therapeutic window on neuropathic pain after nerve injury, and it could be nominated as a novel pharmacotherapy to relieve intractable pain

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oai:doaj.org/article:d67f630652634c46a310867dc6653e36Last time updated on 6/3/2019

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