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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Oct 22

Int J Mol Sci




Activation of the TNF-α-Necroptosis Pathway in Parvalbumin-Expressing Interneurons of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex Contributes to Neuropathic Pain.


Duan Y, Li Q, Zhou Y, Chen S, Li Y, Zang Y


The hyperexcitability of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has been implicated in the development of chronic pain. As one of the key causes of ACC hyperexcitation, disinhibition of the ACC may be closely related to the dysfunction of inhibitory parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons (PV-INs). However, the molecular mechanism underlying the ACC PV-INs injury remains unclear. The present study demonstrates that spared sciatic nerve injury (SNI) induces an imbalance in the excitation and inhibition (E/I) of the ACC. To test whether tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) upregulation in the ACC after SNI activates necroptosis and participates in PV-INs damage, we performed a differential analysis of transcriptome sequencing using data from neuropathic pain models and found that the expression of genes key to the TNF-α-necroptosis pathway were upregulated. TNF-α immunoreactivity (IR) signals in the ACCs of SNI rats were co-located with p-RIP3- and PV-IR, or p-MLKL- and PV-IR signals. We then systematically detected the expression and cell localization of necroptosis-related proteins, including kinase RIP1, RIP3, MLKL, and their phosphorylated states, in the ACC of SNI rats. Except for RIP1 and MLKL, the levels of these proteins were significantly elevated in the contralateral ACC and mainly expressed in PV-INs. Blocking the ACC TNF-α-necroptosis pathway by microinjecting TNF-α neutralizing antibody or using an siRNA knockdown to block expression of MLKL in the ACC alleviated SNI-induced pain hypersensitivity and inhibited the upregulation of TNF-α and p-MLKL. Targeting TNF-α-triggered necroptosis within ACC PV-INs may help to correct PV-INs injury and E/I imbalance in the ACC in neuropathic pain.