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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Nov 2023 - 24 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 18

ACS Chem Neurosci


Melatonin Relieves Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathic Pain by Regulating pNEK2-Dependent Epigenetic Pathways in DRG Neurons.


Hsieh MC, Lai CY, Lin LT, Chou D, Yeh CM, Cheng JK, Wang HH, Lin KH, Lin TB, Peng HY


The neurohormone melatonin (MLT) demonstrates promising potential in ameliorating neuropathic pain induced by paclitaxel (PTX) chemotherapy. However, little is known about its protective effect on dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in neuropathic pain resulting from the chemotherapeutic drug PTX. Here, PTX-treated rats revealed that intrathecal administration of MLT dose-dependently elevated hind paw withdrawal thresholds and latency, indicating that MLT significantly reversed PTX-induced neuropathic pain. Mechanistically, the analgesic effects of MLT were found to be mediated via melatonin receptor 2 (MT2), as pretreatment with an MT2 receptor antagonist inhibited these effects. Moreover, intrathecal MLT injection reversed the pNEK2-dependent epigenetic program induced by PTX. All of the effects caused by MLT were blocked by pretreatment with an MT2 receptor-selective antagonist, 4P-PDOT. Remarkably, multiple MLT administered during PTX treatment (PTX+MLTs) exhibited not only rapid but also lasting reversal of allodynia/hyperalgesia compared to single-bolus MLT administered after PTX treatment (PTX+MLT). In addition, PTX+MLTs exhibited greater efficacy in reversing PTX-induced alterations in pRSK2, pNEK2, JMJD3, H3K27me3, and TRPV1 expression and interaction in DRG neurons than PTX+MLT. These results indicated that MLT administered during PTX treatment reduced the incidence and/or severity of neuropathy and had a better inhibitory effect on the pNEK2-dependent epigenetic program compared to MLT administered after PTX treatment. In conclusion, MLT/MT2 is a promising therapy for the treatment of pNEK2-dependent painful neuropathy resulting from PTX treatment. MLT administered during PTX chemotherapy may be more effective in the prevention or reduction of PTX-induced neuropathy and maintaining quality.