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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Jun 2023 - 16 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Jun 15

Mol Pain


BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway-mediated microglial activation induces neuronal KCC2 downregulation contributing to dynamic allodynia following spared nerve injury.


Zhao X, Zhang T, Wang Y, Hu Z, Yu X, Chen P, Jin K, Zhou J, Wang G, Yu J, Wu T, Wang Y, Lin F


Mechanical allodynia can be evoked by punctate pressure contact with the skin (punctate mechanical allodynia) and dynamic contact stimulation induced by gentle touching of the skin (dynamic mechanical allodynia). Dynamic allodynia is insensitive to morphine treatment and is transmitted through the spinal dorsal horn by a specific neuronal pathway, which is different from that for punctate allodynia, leading to difficulties in clinical treatment. K+-Cl- cotransporter-2 (KCC2) is one of the major determinants of inhibitory efficiency, and the inhibitory system in the spinal cord is important in the regulation of neuropathic pain. The aim of the current study was to determine whether neuronal KCC2 is involved in the induction of dynamic allodynia and to identify underlying spinal mechanisms involved in this process. Dynamic and punctate allodynia were assessed using either von Frey filaments or a paint brush in a spared nerve injury (SNI) mouse model. Our study discovered that the downregulated neuronal membrane KCC2 (mKCC2) in the spinal dorsal horn of SNI mice is closely associated with SNI-induced dynamic allodynia, as the prevention of KCC2 downregulation significantly suppressed the induction of dynamic allodynia. The over activation of microglia in the spinal dorsal horn after SNI was at least one of the triggers in SNI-induced mKCC2 reduction and dynamic allodynia, as these effects were blocked by the inhibition of microglial activation. Finally, the BDNF-TrkB pathway mediated by activated microglial affected SNI-induced dynamic allodynia through neuronal KCC2 downregulation. Overall, our findings revealed that activation of microglia through the BDNF-TrkB pathway affected neuronal KCC2 downregulation, contributing to dynamic allodynia induction in an SNI mouse model.