Intrathecal administration of antisense oligonucleotide against p38α but not p38β MAP kinase isoform reduces neuropathic and postoperative pain and TLR4-induced pain in male mice.
p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) consists of two major isoforms: p38α and p38β; however, it remains unclear which isoform is more important for chronic pain development. Recently, we developed potent, long-lasting, and p38 MAPK subtype-specific antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). We examined the therapeutic effects of isoform-specific ASOs in several chronic pain models following single intrathecal injection (300 μg/10 μl) in CD1 mice. In the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model, p38α MAPK ASO, given on post-operative day 5, reduced CCI-induced mechanical allodynia in male but not female mice. In contrast, mechanical allodynia after CCI in both sexes was not affected by p38β MAPK ASO. Intrathecal injection of p38α or p38β ASO resulted in a partial reduction (≈ 50%) of spinal p38α or p38β mRNA level, respectively, in both sexes at two weeks. In contrast, intrathecal injection of the ASOs did not affect p38α and p38β MAPK mRNA levels in dorsal root ganglia. Intrathecal p38α ASO also reduced postoperative pain (mechanical and cold allodynia) in male mice after tibia fracture. However, intrathecal p38α ASO had no effect on mechanical allodynia in male mice after paclitaxel treatment. Intrathecal p38α MAPK ASO pre-treatment also prevented TLR4-mediated mechanical allodynia and downregulated levels of p38α MAPK and phosphorylated p38 MAPK following intrathecal treatment of lipopolysaccharide. In summary, our findings suggest that p38α MAPK is the major p38 MAPK isoform in the spinal cord and regulates chronic pain in a sex and model-dependent manner. Intrathecal p38α MAPK ASO may offer a new treatment for some chronic pain conditions.
Luo, X; Fitzsimmons, B; Mohan, A; Zhang, L; Terrando, N; Kordasiewicz, H; Ji, R-R
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