The direct activation of the spinal sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R) produces mechanical allodynia (MA) and thermal hyperalgesia (TH) in mice. In addition, the blockade of the spinal Sig-1R prevents the induction of MA, but not TH in chronic constriction injury (CCI)-induced neuropathic rats. The present study was designed to investigate whether the increase in spinal p38 MAPK phosphorylation (p-p38 MAPK) mediates Sig-1R-induced MA or TH in mice and the induction of MA in neuropathic rats. MA and TH were evaluated using von Frey filaments and a hot-plate apparatus, respectively. Neuropathic pain was produced by CCI of the right sciatic nerve in rats. Western blot assay and immunohistochemistry were performed to determine the changes of p-p38 MAPK expression in the spinal cord. Intrathecal (i.t.) injection of PRE084, a selective Sig-1R agonist, into naïve mice time-dependently increased the expression of p-p38 MAPK, which was blocked by pretreatment with BD1047, a Sig-1R antagonist. I.t. pretreatment with SB203580, a p38 MAPK inhibitor also dose-dependently inhibited PRE084-induced MA, whereas TH induction was not affected. In CCI rats, i.t. injection of BD1047 during the induction phase (postoperative days 0 to 5) reduced the CCI-induced increase in p-p38 MAPK. In addition, i.t. SB203580 treatment during the induction phase also suppressed the development of CCI-induced MA, but not TH. Conversely, i.t. SB203580 treatment during the maintenance phase (postoperative days 15 to 20) had no effect on CCI-induced MA or TH. These results demonstrate that the increase in spinal p-p38 MAPK is closely associated with the induction of Sig-1R mediated MA, but not TH. Sigma-1 receptor modulation of p-p38 MAPK also plays an important role in the induction, but not the maintenance, of MA in neuropathic pain.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( 2012K001118 ) from Brain Research Center of the 21st Century Frontier Research Program funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology , the Republic of Korea. This research was also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (no. 2012-0005436 ).
Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Mechanical allodynia
- Neuropathic pain
- P38 MAPK
- Sigma-1 receptor