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Papers: 18 May 2024 - 24 May 2024

2024 May 17

Aging Cell


Aging-associated decrease of PGC-1α promotes pain chronification.


Wu X, Yang L, Li Z, Gu C, Jin K, Luo A, Rasheed NF, Fiutak I, Chao K, Chen A, Mao J, Chen Q, Ding W, Shen S


Aging is generally associated with declining somatosensory function, which seems at odds with the high prevalence of chronic pain in older people. This discrepancy is partly related to the high prevalence of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis in older people. However, whether aging alters pain processing in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), and if so, whether it promotes pain chronification is largely unknown. Herein, we report that older mice displayed prolonged nociceptive behavior following nerve injury when compared with mature adult mice. The expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) in S1 was decreased in older mice, whereas PGC-1α haploinsufficiency promoted prolonged nociceptive behavior after nerve injury. Both aging and PGC-1α haploinsufficiency led to abnormal S1 neural dynamics, revealed by intravital two-photon calcium imaging. Manipulating S1 neural dynamics affected nociceptive behavior after nerve injury: chemogenetic inhibition of S1 interneurons aggravated nociceptive behavior in naive mice; chemogenetic activation of S1 interneurons alleviated nociceptive behavior in older mice. More interestingly, adeno-associated virus-mediated expression of PGC-1α in S1 interneurons ameliorated aging-associated chronification of nociceptive behavior as well as aging-related S1 neural dynamic changes. Taken together, our results showed that aging-associated decrease of PGC-1α promotes pain chronification, which might be harnessed to alleviate the burden of chronic pain in older individuals.