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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jan 2022 - 21 Jan 2022

Animal Studies

2022 Jan 18


A neuron-to-astrocyte Wnt5a signal governs astrogliosis during HIV-associated pain pathogenesis.


Liu X, Bae C, Gelman BB, Chung J M, Tang S-J
Brain. 2022 Jan 18.
PMID: 35040478.


Chronic pain is the most common neurological disorder of HIV patients. Multiple neuropathologies were identified in the pain pathway. Among them is the prominent astrocytic reaction (a.k.a. astrogliosis). However, the pathogenic role and mechanism of the astrogliosis are unclear. Here, we show that the astrogliosis is crucial for the pain development induced by a key neurotoxic HIV protein gp120 and that a neuron-to-astrocyte Wnt5a signal controls the astrogliosis. Ablation of astrogliosis blocked the development of gp120-induced mechanical hyperalgesia, and concomitantly the expression of neural circuit polarization (NCP) in the spinal dorsal horn (SDH). We demonstrated that conditional knockout (CKO) of either Wnt5a in neurons or its receptor ROR2 in astrocytes abolished not only gp120-induced astrogliosis but also hyperalgesia and NCP. Furthermore, we found that the astrogliosis promoted expression of hyperalgesia and NCP via IL-1β regulated by a Wnt5a-ROR2-MMP2 axis. Our results shed light on the role and mechanism of astrogliosis in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated pain.