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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Feb 2024 - 23 Feb 2024

2024 Jan





Chronic restraint stress induces abnormal behaviors in pain sensitivity and cognitive function in mice: the role of Keap1/Nrf2 pathway.


Yang N, Wang Y, Luo X, Zhan G


Stress is a series of physical and psychological responses to external and internal environmental stimuli. Growing studies have demonstrated the detrimental impacts of acute restraint stress (ARS) and chronic restraint stress (CRS) on animal behavior. However, the related pathogenesis and therapeutic mechanisms remain unclear. Hence, the present study aimed to examine whether unfolded protein response (UPR) and Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)-nuclear factor erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway are associated with ARS- and CRS- induced abnormal behaviors of pain sensitivity and cognitive function. We here used four behavioral tests to evaluate pain sensitivity and cognitive function in ARS and CRS mice. CRS markedly decreased Paw Withdrawal Mechanical Threshold (PWMT) and Tail-flick Latency (TFL) scores, whereas ARS altered TFL but had no effect on PWMT scores. Additionally, CRS, but not ARS, significantly changed behaviors in nest building behavior and MWMT. Intriguingly, the expression of Keap1 and Nrf2 protein were decreased in the spinal cord and hippocampus in CRS mice, but not in ARS mice. Moreover, neither the ARS nor the CRS groups significantly differed from the control group in terms of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS). Taken together, this study demonstrated that CRS could induce abnormal pain sensitivity and cognitive function probably via Keap1/Nrf2 pathway in spinal cord and hippocampus. It is therefore likely that effective intervention of Keap1/Nrf2 pathway may contribute to preventing and treating hyperalgesia and cognitive dysfunction in CRS.