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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Jun 2019 - 5 Jul 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Aug 28

J Neurosci



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Macrophage toll-like receptor 9 contributes to chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain in male mice.


Luo X, Huh Y, Bang S, He Q, Zhang L, Matsuda M, Ji R-R
J Neurosci. 2019 Aug 28; 39(35):6848-6864.
PMID: 31270160.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) remains a pressing clinical problem, however our understanding of sexual dimorphism in CIPN remains unclear. Emerging studies indicate a sex-dimorphic role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in driving neuropathic pain. In this study we examined the role of TLR9 in CIPN induced by paclitaxel in wild-type and mutant mice of both sexes. Baseline pain sensitivity was not affected in either mutant male or female mice. Intraplantar and intrathecal injection of the TLR9 agonist ODN 1826 induced mechanical allodynia in both sexes of wild-type and knockout mice but failed to do so in mutant mice. Moreover, knockout or C-fiber blockade by resiniferatoxin failed to affect intraplantar ODN 1826-induced mechanical allodynia. Interestingly, the development of paclitaxel-evoked mechanical allodynia was attenuated by TLR9 antagonism or mutation only in male mice. Paclitaxel-induced CIPN caused macrophage infiltration to dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in both sexes, and this infiltration was not affected by mutation. Paclitaxel treatment also upregulated TNF and CXCL1 in macrophage cultures and DRG tissues in both sexes, but these changes were compromised by mutation in male animals. Intraplantar adoptive transfer of paclitaxel-activated macrophages evoked mechanical allodynia in both sexes, which was compromised by mutation or by treatment with TLR9 inhibitor only in male animals. Finally, TLR9 antagonism reduced paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia in female nude mice (T cell and B cell deficient). Together, these findings reveal sex-dimorphic macrophage TLR9 signaling in chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a major side effect in cancer patients undergoing clinical chemotherapy treatment regimens. The role of sex-dimorphism with regards to the mechanisms of CIPN and analgesia against CIPN remains unclear. Previous studies have found that the infiltration of immune cells such as macrophages into dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and their subsequent activation promote CIPN. Interestingly, the contribution of microglia to CIPN appears to be limited. Here, we show that macrophage TLR9 signaling promotes CIPN in male mice only. This study suggests that pathways in macrophages may be sex-dimorphic in CIPN. Our findings provide new insights into the role of macrophage signaling mechanisms underlying sex-dimorphism in CIPN, which may inspire the development of more precise and effective therapies.