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      Pregnancy suppresses neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction injury in rats through the inhibition of TNF-α

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          Pregnancy-induced analgesia develops during late pregnancy, but it is unclear whether this analgesia is effective against neuropathic pain. The detailed molecular mechanisms underlying pregnancy-induced analgesia have not been investigated. We examined the antinociceptive effect of pregnancy-induced analgesia in a neuropathic pain model and the expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), Iba-1, and c-Fos in the spinal dorsal horn just before parturition.

          Materials and methods

          Female Sprague Dawley rats (200–250 g) were randomly assigned to one of four groups (pregnant + chronic constriction injury [CCI]; pregnant + sham injury; not pregnant + CCI; and not pregnant + sham injury). Separate groups were used for the behavioral and tissue analyses. CCI of the left sciatic nerve was surgically induced 3 days after confirming pregnancy in the pregnancy group or on day 3 in the not pregnant group. The spinal cord was extracted 18 days after CCI. TNF-α, GFAP, Iba-1, and c-Fos expression levels in the spinal dorsal horn were measured by Western blot analysis. Mechanical threshold was tested using von Frey filaments.


          The lowered mechanical threshold induced by CCI was significantly attenuated within 1 day before parturition and decreased after delivery. TNF-α expression in CCI rats was decreased within 1 day before parturition. Further, GFAP, Iba-1, and c-Fos expression in the spinal dorsal horn was reduced in the pregnant rats. Serum TNF-α in all groups was below measurable limits.


          Our findings indicate that pregnancy-induced analgesia suppresses neuropathic pain through reducing spinal levels of TNF-α, GFAP, Iba-1, and c-Fos in a rat model of CCI.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Ethical guidelines for investigations of experimental pain in conscious animals.

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            A peripheral mononeuropathy in rat that produces disorders of pain sensation like those seen in man.

             Gary Bennett,  Y. Xie (1988)
            A peripheral mononeuropathy was produced in adult rats by placing loosely constrictive ligatures around the common sciatic nerve. The postoperative behavior of these rats indicated that hyperalgesia, allodynia and, possibly, spontaneous pain (or dysesthesia) were produced. Hyperalgesic responses to noxious radiant heat were evident on the second postoperative day and lasted for over 2 months. Hyperalgesic responses to chemogenic pain were also present. The presence of allodynia was inferred from the nocifensive responses evoked by standing on an innocuous, chilled metal floor or by innocuous mechanical stimulation, and by the rats' persistence in holding the hind paw in a guarded position. The presence of spontaneous pain was suggested by a suppression of appetite and by the frequent occurrence of apparently spontaneous nocifensive responses. The affected hind paw was abnormally warm or cool in about one-third of the rats. About one-half of the rats developed grossly overgrown claws on the affected side. Experiments with this animal model may advance our understanding of the neural mechanisms of neuropathic pain disorders in humans.
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              P2X4 receptors induced in spinal microglia gate tactile allodynia after nerve injury.

              Pain after nerve damage is an expression of pathological operation of the nervous system, one hallmark of which is tactile allodynia-pain hypersensitivity evoked by innocuous stimuli. Effective therapy for this pain is lacking, and the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we report that pharmacological blockade of spinal P2X4 receptors (P2X4Rs), a subtype of ionotropic ATP receptor, reversed tactile allodynia caused by peripheral nerve injury without affecting acute pain behaviours in naive animals. After nerve injury, P2X4R expression increased strikingly in the ipsilateral spinal cord, and P2X4Rs were induced in hyperactive microglia but not in neurons or astrocytes. Intraspinal administration of P2X4R antisense oligodeoxynucleotide decreased the induction of P2X4Rs and suppressed tactile allodynia after nerve injury. Conversely, intraspinal administration of microglia in which P2X4Rs had been induced and stimulated, produced tactile allodynia in naive rats. Taken together, our results demonstrate that activation of P2X4Rs in hyperactive microglia is necessary for tactile allodynia after nerve injury and is sufficient to produce tactile allodynia in normal animals. Thus, blocking P2X4Rs in microglia might be a new therapeutic strategy for pain induced by nerve injury.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                08 March 2017
                : 10
                : 567-574
                Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Asahikawa Medical University, Hokkaido, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hirotsugu Kanda, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Asahikawa Medical University, Midorigaoka-higashi 2-1-1-1, Asahikawa, Hokkaido, 078-8510, Japan, Tel +81 166 68 2583, Fax +81 166 68 2589, Email h.kanda0629@ 123456nifty.com
                © 2017 Onodera et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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