I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Nov 2023 - 17 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 09

J Pain


Alpha-7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Activation Inhibits Trauma Induced Pronociceptive Autoimmune Responses.


Li WW, Shi XY, Wei T, Guo TZ, Kingery WS, David Clark J


Both autonomic nervous system dysfunction and immune system activation are characteristic of chronic pain after limb injuries. Cholinergic agonists reduce immune system activation in many settings. We hypothesized, therefore, that alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) agonist administration would reduce nociceptive and immune changes after tibia fracture and cast immobilization in mice. Fracture mice were treated with either vehicle, a low (0.2mg/kg) dose, or a high (1mg/kg) dose of the selective α7nAChR agonist PNU-282987 for 4 weeks. We assessed hindpaw allodynia and weight bearing as behavioral outcomes. The assessment of adaptive immune responses included regional lymph node hypertrophy, germinal center formation, α7nAChR expression, and IgM deposition. Assessment of innate immune system activation focused on IL-1β and IL-6 generation in fractured hindlimb skin. We observed that mechanical allodynia and unweighting was alleviated by PNU-282987 treatment. Drug treatment also reduced popliteal lymph node hypertrophy and germinal center formation. Immunohistochemical studies localized α7nAChR to germinal center B lymphocytes, and this expression increased after fracture. Analysis of fracture limb hindpaw skin demonstrated increased inflammatory mediator (IL-1β and IL-6) levels and IgM deposition, which were abrogated by PNU-282987. Serum analyses demonstrated fracture induced IgM reactivity against keratin 16, histone 3.2, GFAP, and NMDAR-2B. Administration of PNU-282987 reduced the enhancement of IgM reactivity. Collectively, these data suggest that the α7nAChR is involved in regulating posttraumatic innate and adaptive immune responses and the associated nociceptive sensitization. PERSPECTIVE: These studies evaluate the effects of a selective α7nAChR agonist in a tibial fracture/cast immobilization model of limb pain. Administration of the drug reduced nociceptive and functional changes 4 weeks after injury. These novel findings suggest that well-tolerated α7nAChR agonists may be viable analgesics for chronic pain after limb injuries.