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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Nov 2019 - 8 Nov 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Oct 30

Sci Rep



Role of macrophages and activated microglia in neuropathic pain associated with chronic progressive spinal cord compression.


Takeura N, Nakajima H, Watanabe S, Honjoh K, Takahashi A, Matsumine A
Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 30; 9(1):15656.
PMID: 31666661.


Neuropathic pain (NeP) is commonly encountered in patients with diseases associated with spinal cord damage (e.g., spinal cord injury (SCI) and compressive myelopathy). Recent studies described persistent glial activation and neuronal hyperactivity in SCI, but the pathomechanisms of NeP in chronic compression of the spinal cord remains elusive. The purpose of the present study was to determine the roles of microglia and infiltrating macrophages in NeP. The study was conducted in chimeric spinal hyperostotic mice (ttw/ttw), characterized by chronic progressive compression of the spinal cord as a suitable model of human compressive myelopathy. The severity of spinal cord compression correlated with proportion of activated microglia and hematogenous macrophages. Spinal cord compression was associated with overexpression of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in infiltrating macrophages and reversible blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) disruption in the dorsal horns. Our results suggested that chronic neuropathic pain in long-term spinal cord compression correlates with infiltrating macrophages, activated microglial cells and the associated damage of BSCB, together with overexpression of p-38 MAPK and p-ERK1/2 in these cells. Our findings are potentially useful for the design of new therapies to alleviate chronic neuropathic pain associated with compressive myelopathy.