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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Mar 2024 - 5 April 2024

2024 Mar 29

Brain Behav Immun


Dexamethasone attenuates neuropathic pain through spinal microglial expression of dynorphin a via the cAMP/PKA/p38 MAPK/CREB signaling pathway.


Deng MY, Cheng J, Gao N, Li XY, Liu H, Wang YX


This study aimed to elucidate the opioid mechanisms underlying dexamethasone-induced pain antihypersensitive effects in neuropathic rats. Dexamethasone (subcutaneous and intrathecal) and membrane-impermeable Dex-BSA (intrathecal) administration dose-dependently inhibited mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in neuropathic rats. Dexamethasone and Dex-BSA treatments increased expression of dynorphin A in the spinal cords and primary cultured microglia. Dexamethasone specifically enhanced dynorphin A expression in microglia but not astrocytes or neurons. Intrathecal injection of the microglial metabolic inhibitor minocycline blocked dexamethasone-stimulated spinal dynorphin A expression; intrathecal minocycline, the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist Dex-21-mesylate, dynorphin A antiserum, and κ-opioid receptor antagonist GNTI completely blocked dexamethasone-induced mechanical antiallodynia and thermal antihyperalgesia. Additionally, dexamethasone elevated spinal intracellular cAMP levels, leading to enhanced phosphorylation of PKA, p38 MAPK and CREB. The specific adenylate cyclase inhibitor DDA, PKA inhibitor H89, p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 and CREB inhibitor KG-501 completely blocked dexamethasone-induced anti-neuropathic pain and increased microglial dynorphin A exprression. In conclusion, this study reveal that dexamethasone mitigates neuropathic pain through upregulation of dynorphin A in spinal microglia, likely involving the membrane glucocorticoid receptor/cAMP/PKA/p38 MAPK/CREB signaling pathway.