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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Aug 2020 - 21 Aug 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Aug 06


Sex- and cell-dependent contribution of peripheral HMGB1 and TLR4 in arthritis-induced pain.


Rudjito R, Agalave NM, Bersellini Farinotti A, Lundbäck P, Szabo-Pardi T, Price TJ, Harris HE, Burton MD, Svensson CI
Pain. 2020 Aug 06.
PMID: 32796317.


Spinal high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) plays crucial roles in arthritis-induced pain, however the involvement of peripheral HMGB1 has not been examined previously. In this study, we addressed the role of peripheral HMGB1 and explored if sex contributes differentially to nociception in arthritis. We found Hmgb1 expression to be elevated in the ankle joints of male and female mice subjected to collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA). Blocking the action of peripheral HMGB1, however, only reversed CAIA-induced hypersensitivity in males. Intra-articular injection of the toll-like receptor (TLR)4-activating, partially reduced disulfide, but not the fully reduced all-thiol, HMGB1 evoked mechanical hypersensitivity in both sexes. A sex-dependent temporal profile in expression of inflammatory factors in the ankle joint was observed in response to intra-articular injection of disulfide HMGB1, with male mice showing a delayed, yet longer lasting increase in mRNA levels for several of the investigated factors. Intra-articular HMGB1 did not induce cellular infiltration in the ankle joint suggesting its action on tissue resident cells. To further explore possible sex differences in cellular involvement, we used the macrophage inhibitor, minocycline, and mice with specific TLR4 depletion in myeloid cells or nociceptors. We found that inhibition of resident macrophages attenuated HMGB1-induced pain-like behavior only in male mice. Interestingly, while the contribution of TLR4 on myeloid cells to nociception was minimal in females compared to males, TLR4 on nociceptors are important for HMGB1-induced pain in both sexes. Collectively, our work highlights sex- and cellular location-dependent roles of HMGB1 and TLR4 in peripheral pain mechanisms.