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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Jan 2022 - 14 Jan 2022

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Jan 09

J Pain

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Inhibition of oligodendrocyte apoptosis in the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex prevents fentanyl-induced hyperalgesia in rats.



Opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) is a problem associated with prolonged use of opioids in chronic pain management, and its effective treatment has been hampered by lack of mechanistic evidence. Oligodendrocytes have recently been linked with several pain-related diseases; however, little is known its role in OIH. The prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex (PL-mPFC) has emerged as a significant center of pain regulation, and is rich in oligodendrocytes. Herein we explored the effect of oligodendrocyte apoptosis of PL-mPFC on OIH. Using a fentanyl-induced rat model of OIH and proteomics analysis of the PL-mPFC, we observed a downregulation in five types of myelin-related proteins originating from oligodendrocytes; this was further verified by western blotting. Meanwhile, cleaved-caspase 3 (an apoptosis marker) was increased, whereas the oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) marker NG2 remained unchanged. These results suggest that downregulated myelin-related proteins may be associated with oligodendrocyte apoptosis rather than a reduction in their generating source, and immunohistochemistry confirmed this hypothesis. Behaviorally, prophylactic blockade of oligodendrocyte apoptosis by microinjection of z-DEVD-fmk into the PL-mPFC prevented fentanyl-induced mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia, but downregulated myelin basic protein (mbp) gradually recovered in 12 h. We suggest that OIH may be primed in part via oligodendrocyte apoptosis in the PL-mPFC. PERSPECTIVE: : In this study we showed that oligodendrocyte apoptosis in the PL-mPFC is a key trigger for fentanyl-induced hyperalgesia. Targeting oligodendrocyte apoptosis in the PL-mPFC may prevented hyperalgesia priming induced by fentanyl.