We have recently shown that spinal sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R) activation facilitates nociception via an increase in phosphorylation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor GluN1 subunit (pGluN1). The present study was designed to examine whether the Sig-1R-induced facilitative effect on NMDA-induced nociception is mediated by D-serine, and whether D-serine modulates spinal pGluN1 expression and the development of neuropathic pain after chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. Intrathecal administration of the D-serine degrading enzyme, D-amino acid oxidase attenuated the facilitation of NMDA-induced nociception induced by the Sig-1R agonist, 2-(4-morpholinethyl)1-phenylcyclohexane carboxylate. Exogenous D-serine increased protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent (Ser896) pGluN1 expression and facilitated NMDA-induced nociception, which was attenuated by preteatment with the PKC inhibitor, chelerythrine. In CCI mice, administration of the serine racemase inhibitor, L-serine O-sulfate potassium salt or D-amino acid oxidase on postoperative days 0 to 3 suppressed CCI-induced mechanical allodynia (MA) and pGluN1 expression on day 3 after CCI surgery. Intrathecal administration of D-serine restored MA as well as the GluN1 phosphorylation on day 3 after surgery that was suppressed by the Sig-1R antagonist, N-[2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]-N-methyl-2-(dimethylamino)ethylamine dihydrobromide or the astrocyte inhibitor, fluorocitrate. In contrast, D-serine had no effect on CCI-induced thermal hyperalgesia or GluN1 expression. These results indicate that spinal D-serine: 1) mediates the facilitative effect of Sig-1R on NMDA-induced nociception, 2) modulates PKC-dependent pGluN1 expression, and 3) ultimately contributes to the induction of MA after peripheral nerve injury. Perspective This report shows that reducing D-serine suppresses central sensitization and significantly alleviates peripheral nerve injury-induced chronic neuropathic pain and that this process is modulated by spinal Sig-1Rs. This preclinical evidence provides a strong rationale for using D-serine antagonists to treat peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean Government (grant 2014R1A2A2A01007695).
- GluN1 phosphorylation
- neuropathic pain
- protein kinase C
- sigma-1 receptor