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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Oct 2019 - 18 Oct 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Oct 10

Sci Rep



Effects of ghrelin on pGSK-3β and β-catenin expression when protects against neuropathic pain behavior in rats challenged with chronic constriction injury.


Ghrelin has been shown to alleviate neuropathic pain by inhibiting the release of proinflammatory cytokines. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling in mediating the effect of ghrelin on neuropathic pain and to understand the associated mechanisms. Chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve was used to establish a rat model of neuropathic pain. Hyperalgesia and allodynia were evaluated by observing the mechanical withdrawal threshold and the thermal withdrawal latency. Wnt3a and β-catenin protein expression and GSK-3β phosphorylation were detected by western blotting analysis. The levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-1β were determined using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In addition, we used immunohistochemical analysis to determine the levels of GSK-3β phosphorylation in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Intrathecal delivery of ghrelin effectively ameliorated CCI-induced mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia at 7 and 14 days and reduced the levels of tumor necrosis factor-α. Ghrelin inhibited CCI-induced GSK-3β activation and β-catenin overexpression in the spinal dorsal horn. Moreover, intrathecal injection of ghrelin suppressed the activation of GSK-3β in the spinal dorsal horn of CCI rats, as assessed by immunohistochemical analysis. Our data indicated that ghrelin could markedly alleviate neuropathic pain by inhibiting the expression of β-catenin, via the suppression of GSK-3β activation, in the spinal cord of CCI rats.