Delayed activation of spinal microglia contributes to the maintenance of bone cancer pain in female Wistar rats via P2X7 receptor and IL-18.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Accumulating evidence suggests that activation of spinal microglia contributes to the development of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. However, the role of spinal microglia in the maintenance of chronic pain remains controversial. Bone cancer pain shares features of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, but the temporal activation of microglia and astrocytes in this model is not well defined. Here, we report an unconventional role of spinal microglia in the maintenance of advanced-phase bone cancer pain in a female rat model. Bone cancer elicited delayed and persistent microglial activation in the spinal dorsal horn on days 14 and 21, but not on day 7. In contrast, bone cancer induced rapid and persistent astrocytic activation on days 7-21. Spinal inhibition of microglia by minocycline at 14 d effectively reduced bone cancer-induced allodynia and hyperalgesia. However, pretreatment of minocycline in the first week did not affect the development of cancer pain. Bone cancer increased ATP levels in CSF, and upregulated P2X7 receptor, phosphorylated p38, and IL-18 in spinal microglia. Spinal inhibition of P2X7/p-38/IL-18 pathway reduced advanced-phase bone cancer pain and suppressed hyperactivity of spinal wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons. IL-18 induced allodynia and hyperalgesia after intrathecal injection, elicited mechanical hyperactivity of WDR neurons in vivo, and increased the frequency of mEPSCs in spinal lamina IIo nociceptive synapses in spinal cord slices. Together, our findings demonstrate a novel role of microglia in maintaining advanced phase cancer pain in females via producing the proinflammatory cytokine IL-18 to enhance synaptic transmission of spinal cord nociceptive neurons.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yang, Y; Li, H; Li, T-T; Luo, H; Gu, X-Y; Lü, N; Ji, R-R; Zhang, Y-Q

Published Date

  • May 20, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 20

Start / End Page

  • 7950 - 7963

PubMed ID

  • 25995479

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6795189

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-2401

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5250-14.2015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States