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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Nov 2020 - 27 Nov 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Nov 19

Brain Behav Immun

Chemogenetic manipulation of microglia inhibits neuroinflammation and neuropathic pain in mice.


Yi M-H, Liu YU, Liu K, Chen T, Bosco DB, Zheng J, Xie M, Zhou L, Qu W, Wu L-J
Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Nov 19.
PMID: 33221486.


Microglia play an important role in the central sensitization and chronic pain. However, a direct connection between microglial function and pain development in vivo remains incompletely understood. To address this issue, we applied chemogenetic approach by using CXCR1:R26 transgenic mice to enable expression of inhibitory Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (Gi DREADD) in microglia. We found that microglial Gi DREADD activation inhibited spinal nerve transection (SNT)-induced microglial reactivity as well as chronic pain in both male and female mice. Gi DREADD activation downregulated the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) and its downstream target pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β). Using in vivo spinal cord recording, we found that activation of microglial Gi DREADD attenuated synaptic transmission following SNT. Our results demonstrate that microglial Gi DREADD reduces neuroinflammation, synaptic function and neuropathic pain after SNT. Thus, chemogenetic approaches provide a potential opportunity for interrogating microglial function and neuropathic pain treatment.