I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Oct 2023 - 20 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 12

Brain Behav Immun


Interleukin-1beta and inflammasome expression in spinal cord following chronic constriction injury in male and female rats.


Green-Fulgham SM, Ball JB, Kwilasz AJ, Harland ME, Frank M, Dragavon J, Grace PM, Watkins LR


Females represent a majority of chronic pain patients and show greater inflammatory immune responses in human chronic pain patient populations as well as in animal models of neuropathic pain. Recent discoveries in chronic pain research have revealed sex differences in inflammatory signaling, a key component of sensory pathology in chronic neuropathic pain, inviting more research into the nuances of these sex differences. Here we use the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model to explore similarities and differences in expression and production of Inflammatory cytokine IL-1beta in the lumbar spinal cord, as well as its role in chronic pain. We have discovered that intrathecal IL-1 receptor antagonist reverses established pain in both sexes, and increased gene expression of inflammasome NLRP3 is specific to microglia and astrocytes rather than neurons, while IL-1beta is specific to microglia in both sexes. We report several sex differences in the expression level of the genes coding for IL-1beta, as well as the four inflammasomes responsible for IL-1beta release: NLRP3, AIM2, NLRP1, and NLRC4 in the spinal cord. Total mRNA, but not protein expression of IL-1beta is greater in females than males after CCI. Also, while CCI increases all four inflammasomes in both sexes, there are sex differences in relative levels of inflammasome expression. NLRP3 and AIM2 are more highly expressed in females, whereas NLRP1 expression is greater in males.