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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Nov

Brain Behav Immun


SETD7 mediates spinal microgliosis and neuropathic pain in a rat model of peripheral nerve injury.


Shen Y, Ding Z, Ma S, Ding Z, Zhang Y, Zou Y, Xu F, Yang X, Schäfer MKE, Guo Q, Huang C
Brain Behav Immun. 2019 Nov; 82:382-395.
PMID: 31505256.


Gene transcription regulation is critical for the development of spinal microgliosis and neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury. Using a model of chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, this study characterized the role of SET domain containing lysine methyltransferase 7 (SETD7) which monomethylates histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me1), a marker for active gene transcription. SETD7 protein expression in the spinal dorsal horn ipsilateral to nerve lesion was increased from one day to 14 days after CCI, concomitantly with the expression of inflammatory genes, Ccl2, Il-6 and Il-1β. The CCI-induced SETD7 expression was predominantly localized to microglia, as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and western blot from magnetic activated cell sorted spinal microglia. SETD7 knockdown by intrathecal lentivirus shRNA delivery prior to CCI prevented spinal microgliosis and neuropathic pain, whereas lentiviral SETD7 transduction exacerbated these symptoms. In addition, SETD7 regulated H3K4me1 level and expression of inflammatory mediators both in CCI rats and in the HAPI rat microglia cell line. Accordingly, PFI-2, a specific inhibitor of SETD7 monomethylation activity, suppressed the lipopolysaccharides-induced amoeboid morphology of primary microglia and the expression of inflammatory genes, Ccl2, Il-6 and Il-1β. Moreover, intrathecal administration of PFI-2 alleviated CCI-induced neuropathic pain. However, this effect was observed in male but not in female rats. These results demonstrate a critical role of SETD7 in the development of spinal microgliosis and neuropathic pain subsequently to peripheral nerve injury. The pharmacological approach further suggests that SETD7 is a new target for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The underlying mechanisms may involve H3K4me1-dependent regulation of inflammatory gene expression in microglia.