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Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 15

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol




Minocycline Abrogates Individual Differences in Nerve Injury-Evoked Affective Disturbances in Male Rats and Prevents Associated Supraspinal Neuroinflammation.


O'Brien JA, Austin PJ


Chronic neuropathic pain precipitates a complex range of affective and behavioural disturbances that differ markedly between individuals. While the reasons for differences in pain-related disability are not well understood, supraspinal neuroimmune interactions are implicated. Minocycline has antidepressant effects in humans and attenuates affective disturbances in rodent models of pain, and acts by reducing neuroinflammation in both the spinal cord and brain. Previous studies, however, tend not to investigate how minocycline modulates individual affective responses to nerve injury, or rely on non-naturalistic behavioural paradigms that fail to capture the complexity of rodent behaviour. We investigated the development and resolution of pain-related affective disturbances in nerve-injured male rats by measuring multiple spontaneous ethological endpoints on a longitudinal naturalistic foraging paradigm, and the effect of chronic oral minocycline administration on these changes. Disrupted foraging behaviours appeared in 22% of nerve-injured rats – termed ‘affected’ rats – and were present at day 14 but partially resolved by day 21 post-injury. Minocycline completely prevented the emergence of an affected subgroup while only partly attenuating mechanical allodynia, dissociating the relationship between pain and affect. This was associated with a lasting downregulation of ΔFosB expression in ventral hippocampal neurons at day 21 post-injury. Markers of microglia-mediated neuroinflammation were not present by day 21, however proinflammatory microglial polarisation was apparent in the medial prefrontal cortex of affected rats and not in CCI minocycline rats. Individual differences in affective disturbances following nerve injury are therefore temporally related to altered microglial morphology and hippocampal neuronal activation, and are abrogated by minocycline.