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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Oct 2022 - 28 Oct 2022

2022 Oct 21

Int Immunopharmacol


Pt A

DUSP8/TAK1 signaling mediates neuropathic pain through regulating neuroinflammation and neuron death in a spinal nerve ligation (SNL) rat model.


Liao C, Zhou H, Chen H, Cheng G, Li S, Ma F, Yang X, Xie B, Zhang W
Int Immunopharmacol. 2022 Oct 21; 113(Pt A):109284.
PMID: 36279673.


Nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain is a type of chronic pain associated with neuroinflammatory response and neuronal death; however the underlying molecular mechanisms are still unclear. Dual-specificity phosphatase 8 (DUSP8) can mediate numerous cellular events, but whether it's involved in neuropathic pain is unknown. In the study, we found that spinal nerve ligation (SNL) operation on rats significantly decreased DUSP8 expression levels in ipsilateral spinal cord (ISC) tissues. Consistently, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure also reduced DUSP8 in murine microglial cells. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated DUSP8 over-expression was found to considerably ameliorate SNL-induced neuropathic pain in rats. Additionally, neuronal death in the ISC tissues was also attenuated by AAV-DUSP8 following SNL surgery. Moreover, SNL-triggered neuroinflammation and microglial activation were also mitigated upon DUSP8 over-expression by suppressing nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling, which were validated in LPS-exposed microglial cells. Importantly, our in vitro experiments indicated that inflammatory response in microglial cells contributed to neuron death, and such effect could also be ameliorated by DUSP8 over-expression. Notably, we found that DUSP8 directly interacted with transforming growth factor β activated kinase-1 (TAK1) in microglial cells. Both SNL and LPS led to the activation of TAK1/p38/JNK1/2 signaling, whereas being strongly abolished by DUSP8. Intriguingly, TAK1 blockage significantly diminished LPS-induced inflammation and neuron death, whereas being accelerated by DUSP8 knockdown, further indicating that DUSP8-ameliorated neuropathic pain was largely TAK1-dependent. Together, all our findings revealed that DUSP8/TAK1 signaling may be a potential target for neuropathic pain alleviation.