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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Jul 2023 - 14 Jul 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Jul 05



Inhibition of nuclear receptor RORγ ameliorates mechanical hypersensitivity through the suppression of spinal microglial activation.


Morioka N, Tsuruta M, Masuda N, Yamano K, Nakano M, Kochi T, Nakamura Y, Hisaoka-Nakashima K


Microglia are crucial in induction of central sensitization under a chronic pain state. Therefore, control of microglial activity is important to ameliorate nociceptive hypersensitivity. The nuclear receptor retinoic acid related orphan receptor γ (RORγ) contributes to the regulation of inflammation-related gene transcription in some immune cells, including T cells and macrophages. Their role and function in regulation of microglial activity and nociceptive transduction have yet to be elaborated. Treatment of cultured microglia with specific RORγ inverse agonists, SR2211 or GSK2981278, significantly suppressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced mRNA expression of pronociceptive molecules interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Intrathecal treatment of naïve male mice with LPS markedly induced mechanical hypersensitivity and upregulation of ionized calcium-biding adaptor molecule (Iba1) in the spinal dorsal horn, indicating microglial activation. In addition, intrathecal treatment with LPS significantly induced mRNA upregulation of IL-1β and IL-6 in the spinal dorsal horn. These responses were prevented by intrathecal pretreatment with SR2211. In addition, intrathecal administration of SR2211 significantly ameliorated established mechanical hypersensitivity and upregulation of Iba1 immunoreactivity in the spinal dorsal horn of male mice following peripheral sciatic nerve injury. The current findings demonstrate that blockade of RORγ in spinal microglia exerts anti-inflammatory effects, and that RORγ may be an appropriate target for the treatment of chronic pain.