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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Jan 2019 - 1 Feb 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Jan-Dec

Mol Pain


Astrocyte activation in the periaqueductal gray promotes descending facilitation to cancer-induced bone pain through the JNK MAPK signaling pathway.


Ni H, Xu L, Wang Y, Li H, An K, Mingjuan L, Qianying L, Deng H, Qiuli H, Bing H, Fang J-Q, Yao M
Mol Pain. 2019 Jan-Dec; 15:1744806919831909.
PMID: 30700204.


Descending nociceptive modulation from the supraspinal structures has an important role in cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP). Midbrain ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) is a critical component of descending nociceptive circuits; nevertheless, its precise cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in descending facilitation remain elusive. Our previous study has shown that activation of p38 MAPK in vlPAG microglia is essential for the neuropathic pain sensitization. However, the existence of potential connection between astrocytes and JNK pathway in CIBP has not yet been elucidated. The following study examines the involvement of astrocyte activation and up-regulation of p-JNK in vlPAG, using a CIBP rat model. Briefly, CIBP was mimicked by an intramedullary injection of Walker 256 mammary gland carcinoma cells into the animal tibia. A significant increase in expression levels of astrocytes in the vlPAG of CIBP rats was observed. Furthermore, stereotaxic microinjection of the astrocytic cytotoxin L-α-aminoadipic acid decreased the mechanical allodynia, as well as established and reversed the astrocyte activation in CIBP rats. A significant increase in expression levels of p-JNK in astrocytes in vlPAG of CIBP rats was also observed. Moreover, the intrathecal administration of JNK inhibitors SP600125 reduced the expression of GFAP, while microinjection of the SP600125 decreased the mechanical allodynia of CIBP rats. These results suggested that cancer-induced bone pain is associated with astrocyte activation in the vlPAG that probably participates in driving descending pain facilitation through the JNK MAPK signaling pathway. To sum up, these findings reveal a novel site of astrocytes modulation of CIBP.