Selective inhibition of JNK with a peptide inhibitor attenuates pain hypersensitivity and tumor growth in a mouse skin cancer pain model.
Cancer pain significantly affects the quality of cancer patients, and current treatments for this pain are limited. C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) has been implicated in tumor growth and neuropathic pain sensitization. We investigated the role of JNK in cancer pain and tumor growth in a skin cancer pain model. Injection of luciferase-transfected B16-Fluc melanoma cells into a hindpaw of mouse induced robust tumor growth, as indicated by increase in paw volume and fluorescence intensity. Pain hypersensitivity in this model developed rapidly (<5 days) and reached a peak in 2 weeks, and was characterized by mechanical allodynia and heat hyperalgesia. Tumor growth was associated with JNK activation in tumor mass, dorsal root ganglion (DRG), and spinal cord and a peripheral neuropathy, such as loss of nerve fibers in the hindpaw skin and induction of ATF-3 expression in DRG neurons. Repeated systemic injections of D-JNKI-1 (6 mg/kg, i.p.), a selective and cell-permeable peptide inhibitor of JNK, produced an accumulative inhibition of mechanical allodynia and heat hyperalgesia. A bolus spinal injection of D-JNKI-1 also inhibited mechanical allodynia. Further, JNK inhibition suppressed tumor growth in vivo and melanoma cell proliferation in vitro. In contrast, repeated injections of morphine (5 mg/kg), a commonly used analgesic for terminal cancer, produced analgesic tolerance after 1 day and did not inhibit tumor growth. Our data reveal a marked peripheral neuropathy in this skin cancer model and important roles of the JNK pathway in cancer pain development and tumor growth. JNK inhibitors such as D-JNKI-1 may be used to treat cancer pain.
Gao, Y-J; Cheng, J-K; Zeng, Q; Xu, Z-Z; Decosterd, I; Xu, X; Ji, R-R
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