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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Aug 2019 - 30 Aug 2019

Animal Studies

2020 Jan




Epigenetic reduction of miR-214-3p upregulates astrocytic colony-stimulating factor-1 and contributes to neuropathic pain induced by nerve injury.


Emerging evidence has indicated that colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF1) modulates neuroinflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) and the development of neuropathic pain, while the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here, we identified the increased expression of CSF1 derived from activated astrocytes in the ipsilateral dorsal horn in rats with spinal nerve ligation (SNL). Suppression of CSF1 expression alleviated neuroinflammation, neuronal hyperexcitability and glutamatergic receptor subunit upregulation in the dorsal horn and improved SNL-induced pain behavior. We also found reduced miR-214-3p expression in the ipsilateral dorsal horn following an SNL procedure; miR-214-3p directly bound to the 3'-UTR of CSF1 mRNA and negatively regulated CSF1 expression. Intrathecal delivery of miR-214-3p mimic reversed the enhanced expression of CSF1 and astrocyte overactivity and alleviated the IL-6 upregulation and pain behavior induced by SNL. Moreover, suppression of spinal miR-214-3p increased astrocyte reactivity, promoted CSF1 and IL-6 production, and induced pain hypersensitivity in naïve animals. Furthermore, SNL induced the expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a (DNMT3a) that was associated with the hypermethylation of the miR-214-3p promoter, leading to reduced miR-214-3p expression in the model rodents. Treatment with the DNMT inhibitor zebularine significantly reduced cytosine methylation in the miR-214-3p promoter; this reduced methylation consequently increased the expression of miR-214-3p and decreased the content of CSF1 in the ipsilateral dorsal horn, and further, attenuated IL-6 production and pain behavior in rats with SNL. Together, our data indicate that the DNMT3a-mediated epigenetic suppression of miR-214-3p enhanced CSF1 production in astrocytes, which subsequently induced neuroinflammation and pain behavior in SNL model rats.