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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Mar 2023 - 31 Mar 2023

Basic Science

In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Mar 24

Int J Biochem Cell Biol


α7 Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor potentiation downregulates chemotherapy-induced inflammatory overactivation by overlapping intracellular mechanisms.


Marmouzi I, Myers S, Buck DJ, Davis RL, Arias HR


We studied, using a combination of animal and cellular models, the glial mechanisms underlying the anti-neuropathic and anti-inflammatory properties of PAM-2 [(E)-3-furan-2-yl-N-p-tolyl-acrylamide], a positive allosteric modulator of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). In mice, PAM-2 decreased the inflammatory process induced by the combination of oxaliplatin (OXA), a chemotherapeutic agent, and interleukin-1β (IL-1β), a pro-inflammatory molecule. In the brain and spinal cord of treated animals, PAM-2 reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines by mechanisms involving mRNA downregulation of factors in the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway, and increased the precursor of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (proBDNF). To determine the molecular mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory activity of PAM-2, both human C20 microglia and normal human astrocytes (NHA) were used. The results showed that PAM-2-induced potentiation of glial α7 nAChRs decreases OXA/IL-1β-induced overexpression of inflammatory molecules by different mechanisms, including mRNA downregulation of factors in the NF-κB pathway (in microglia and astrocyte) and ERK (only in microglia). The OXA/IL-1β-mediated reduction in proBDNF was prevented by PAM-2 in microglia, but not in astrocytes. Our findings also indicate that OXA/IL-1β-induced organic cation transporter 1 (OCT1) expression is decreased by PAM-2, suggesting that decreased OXA influx may be involved in the protective effects of PAM-2. The α7-selective antagonist methyllycaconitine blocked the most important effects mediated by PAM-2 at both animal and cellular levels, supporting a mechanism involving α7 nAChRs. In conclusion, glial α7 nAChR stimulation/potentiation downregulates neuroinflammatory targets, and thereby remains a promising therapeutic option for cancer chemotherapy-induced neuroinflammation and neuropathic pain.