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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Apr 2020 - 17 Apr 2020

Animal Studies


PLoS One



Characterization of the SIM-A9 cell line as a model of activated microglia in the context of neuropathic pain.


Resident microglia of the central nervous system are being increasingly recognized as key players in diseases such as neuropathic pain. Biochemical and behavioral studies in neuropathic pain rodent models have documented compelling evidence of the critical role of ATP mediated-P2X4R-brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling pathway in the initiation and maintenance of pain hypersensitivity, a feature driving neuropathic pain-related behavior. The goal of this study was to develop and characterize an in vitro cell line model of activated microglia that can be subsequently utilized for screening neuropathic pain therapeutics. In the present study, we characterized the SIM-A9 microglia cell line for key molecules in the P2X4R-BDNF signaling axis using a combination of biochemical techniques and developed an ATP-activated SIM-A9 microglia model. We present three novel findings: first, SIM-A9 cells expressed P2X4R and BDNF proteins, second, ATP, but not LPS, was cytocompatible with SIM-A9 cells and third, exposure of cells to optimized ATP concentrations for defined periods increased intracellular expression of Iba1 and BDNF proteins. Increased Iba1 levels confirmed microglia activation and increased BDNF expression confirmed ATP-mediated stimulation of the P2X4R signaling pathway. We propose that this ATP-activated SIM-A9 cell line model system can be utilized for screening both small- as well as macro-molecular neuropathic pain therapeutics targeting BDNF and/or P2X4R knockdown.