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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Jul 2022 - 29 Jul 2022

2022 Jul 27

Adv Sci (Weinh)

NFAT1 Orchestrates Spinal Microglial Transcription and Promotes Microglial Proliferation via c-MYC Contributing to Nerve Injury-Induced Neuropathic Pain.


Jiang B-C, Ding T-Y, Guo C-Y, Bai X-H, Cao D-L, Wu X-B, Sha W-L, Jiang M, Wu L-J, Gao Y-J
Adv Sci (Weinh). 2022 Jul 27:e2201300.
PMID: 35892263.


Peripheral nerve injury-induced spinal microglial proliferation plays a pivotal role in neuropathic pain. So far, key intracellular druggable molecules involved in this process are not identified. The nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT1) is a master regulator of immune cell proliferation. Whether and how NFAT1 modulates spinal microglial proliferation during neuropathic pain remain unknown. Here it is reported that NFAT1 is persistently upregulated in microglia after spinal nerve ligation (SNL), which is regulated by TET2-mediated DNA demethylation. Global or microglia-specific deletion of Nfat1 attenuates SNL-induced pain and decreases excitatory synaptic transmission of lamina II neurons. Furthermore, deletion of Nfat1 decreases microglial proliferation and the expression of multiple microglia-related genes, such as cytokines, transmembrane signaling receptors, and transcription factors. Particularly, SNL increases the binding of NFAT1 with the promoter of Itgam, Tnf, Il-1b, and c-Myc in the spinal cord. Microglia-specific overexpression of c-MYC induces pain hypersensitivity and microglial proliferation. Finally, inhibiting NFAT1 and c-MYC by intrathecal injection of inhibitor or siRNA alleviates SNL-induced neuropathic pain. Collectively, NFAT1 is a hub transcription factor that regulates microglial proliferation via c-MYC and guides the expression of the activated microglia genome. Thus, NFAT1 may be an effective target for treating neuropathic pain.