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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Sep 2023 - 22 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Sep 21



Gut microbiota dysbiosis alters chronic pain behaviors in a humanized transgenic mouse model of sickle cell disease.


Kashyap Y, Wang ZJ


Pain is the most common symptom experienced by patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) throughout their lives and is the main cause of hospitalization. Despite the progress that has been made towards understanding the disease pathophysiology, major gaps remain in the knowledge of SCD pain, the transition to chronic pain, and effective pain management. Recent evidence has demonstrated a vital role of gut microbiota in pathophysiological features of SCD. However, the role of gut microbiota in SCD pain is yet to be explored. We sought to evaluate the compositional differences in the gut microbiota of transgenic mice with SCD and nonsickle control mice and investigate the role of gut microbiota in SCD pain by using antibiotic-mediated gut microbiota depletion and fecal material transplantation (FMT). The antibiotic-mediated gut microbiota depletion did not affect evoked pain but significantly attenuated ongoing spontaneous pain in mice with SCD. Fecal material transplantation from mice with SCD to wild-type mice resulted in tactile allodynia (0.95 ± 0.17 g vs 0.08 ± 0.02 g, von Frey test, P < 0.001), heat hyperalgesia (15.10 ± 0.79 seconds vs 8.68 ± 1.17 seconds, radiant heat, P < 0.01), cold allodynia (2.75 ± 0.26 seconds vs 1.68 ± 0.08 seconds, dry ice test, P < 0.01), and anxiety-like behaviors (Elevated Plus Maze Test, Open Field Test). On the contrary, reshaping gut microbiota of mice with SCD with FMT from WT mice resulted in reduced tactile allodynia (0.05 ± 0.01 g vs 0.25 ± 0.03 g, P < 0.001), heat hyperalgesia (5.89 ± 0.67 seconds vs 12.25 ± 0.76 seconds, P < 0.001), and anxiety-like behaviors. These findings provide insights into the relationship between gut microbiota dysbiosis and pain in SCD, highlighting the importance of gut microbial communities that may serve as potential targets for novel pain interventions.