Neurogenic inflammation is a major component of chronic neuropathic pain. Previously, we established the db/db mouse as an animal model of painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) of type 2 diabetes. In the current study, we investigate the roles of interleukin (IL)-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, in the development of neurogenic inflammation and pain behavior in db/db mouse.
We first studied IL-10 expression in lumbar dorsal root ganglion (LDRG) neurons of db/db mice using immunohistochemistry, immunoblots, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction during the period of pain behavior (from 8 to 16 wk of age). To determine if the reduced IL-10 expression mediates the mechanical allodynia in db/db mice, we administered recombinant mouse IL-10 or saline (control) intraperitoneally to control db/+ and db/db mice starting at 8 wk of age. IL-10 treatment was repeated every other day for 2 wk until the mice reached 10 wk of age.
During the period of pain behavior, reduction of IL-10 protein and gene expression was detected in LDRG of db/db mice. Treatment with recombinant IL-10, from 8 to 10 wk of age, alleviates pain behaviors in db/db mice without affecting other diabetic parameters. In parallel, IL-10 treatment reduced the upregulation of nerve growth factor (NGF), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and high-affinity NGF receptor (Trk A) in LDRG, as well as the numbers of iNOS-positive Langerhans cells and CD-68-positive dermal dendritic cells in the hind-foot-pad skin in db/db mice.
Our findings suggest that the reduction in neuronal IL-10 increases inflammatory phenomena, ultimately contributing to PDN. These results suggest that the dysregulation of cytokine-mediated inflammation contributes to the development of PDN in db/db mice. Targeting this pathophysiologic mechanism could be an effective approach for treating PDN in type 2 diabetes.