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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 May 2024 - 31 May 2024

2024 May 07

Cancers (Basel)




Osteosarcoma-Induced Pain Is Mediated by Glial Cell Activation in the Spinal Dorsal Horn, but Not Capsaicin-Sensitive Nociceptive Neurons: A Complex Functional and Morphological Characterization in Mice.


Bencze N, Scheich B, Szőke É, Wilhelm I, Körmöndi S, Botz B, Helyes Z


Bone cancer and its related chronic pain are huge clinical problems since the available drugs are often ineffective or cannot be used long term due to a broad range of side effects. The mechanisms, mediators and targets need to be identified to determine potential novel therapies. Here, we characterize a mouse bone cancer model induced by intratibial injection of K7M2 osteosarcoma cells using an integrative approach and investigate the role of capsaicin-sensitive peptidergic sensory nerves. The mechanical pain threshold was assessed by dynamic plantar aesthesiometry, limb loading by dynamic weight bearing, spontaneous pain-related behaviors via observation, knee diameter with a digital caliper, and structural changes by micro-CT and glia cell activation by immunohistochemistry in BALB/c mice of both sexes. Capsaicin-sensitive peptidergic sensory neurons were defunctionalized by systemic pretreatment with a high dose of the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) agonist resiniferatoxin (RTX). During the 14- and 28-day experiments, weight bearing on the affected limb and the paw mechanonociceptive thresholds significantly decreased, demonstrating secondary mechanical hyperalgesia. Signs of spontaneous pain and osteoplastic bone remodeling were detected both in male and female mice without any sex differences. Microglia activation was shown by the increased ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1) immunopositivity on day 14 and astrocyte activation by the enhanced glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive cell density on day 28 in the ipsilateral spinal dorsal horn. Interestingly, defunctionalization of the capsaicin-sensitive afferents representing approximately 2/3 of the nociceptive fibers did not alter any functional parameters. Here, we provide the first complex functional and morphological characterization of the K7M2 mouse osteosarcoma model. Bone-cancer-related chronic pain and hyperalgesia are likely to be mediated by central sensitization involving neuroinflammation via glial cell activation in the spinal dorsal horn, but not the capsaicin-sensitive sensory neuronal system.