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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Oct 2022 - 7 Oct 2022

Animal Studies


Front Pain Res (Lausanne)


Involvement of TLR2-TLR4, NLRP3, and IL-17 in pain induced by a novel Sprague-Dawley rat model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.


Kwilasz AJ, Clements MA, Larson TA, Harris KM, Litwiler ST, Woodall BJ, Todd LS, Schrama AEW, Mitten EH, Maier SF, Dam A-M V, Rice KC, Watkins LR
Front Pain Res (Lausanne). 2022; 3:932530.
PMID: 36176709.


Up to 92% of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) experience pain, most without adequate treatment, and many report pain long before motor symptoms associated with MS diagnosis. In the most commonly studied rodent model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), motor impairments/disabilities caused by EAE can interfere with pain testing. In this study, we characterize a novel low-dose myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein (MOG)-induced Sprague-Dawley (SD) model of EAE-related pain in male rats, optimized to minimize motor impairments/disabilities. Adult male SD rats were treated with increasing doses of intradermal myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein (MOG) (0, 4, 8, and 16 μg) in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA) vehicle to induce mild EAE. Von Frey testing and motor assessments were conducted prior to EAE induction and then weekly thereafter to assess EAE-induced pain and motor impairment. Results from these studies demonstrated that doses of 8 and 16 μg MOG were sufficient to produce stable mechanical allodynia for up to 1 month in the absence of hindpaw motor impairments/disabilities. In the follow-up studies, these doses of MOG, were administered to create allodynia in the absence of confounded motor impairments. Then, 2 weeks later, rats began daily subcutaneous injections of the Toll-like receptor 2 and 4 (TLR2-TLR4) antagonist (+)-naltrexone [(+)-NTX] or saline for an additional 13 days. We found that (+)-NTX also reverses EAE-induced mechanical allodynia in the MOG-induced SD rat model of EAE, supporting parallels between models, but now allowing a protracted timecourse to be examined completely free of motor confounds. Exploring further mechanisms, we demonstrated that both spinal NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) and interleukin-17 (IL-17) are necessary for EAE-induced pain, as intrathecal injections of NLRP3 antagonist MCC950 and IL-17 neutralizing antibody both acutely reversed EAE-induced pain. Finally, we show that spinal glial immunoreactivity induced by EAE is reversed by (+)-NTX, and that spinal demyelination correlates with the severity of motor impairments/disabilities. These findings characterize an optimized MOG-induced SD rat model of EAE for the study of pain with minimal motor impairments/disabilities. Finally, these studies support the role of TLR2-TLR4 antagonists as a potential treatment for MS-related pain and other pain and inflammatory-related disorders.