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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 18

ACS Chem Neurosci


Role of NLRP3 Inflammasome in Post-Spinal-Cord-Injury Anxiety and Depression: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications.


Mokhtari T, Uludag K


The majority of research on the long-term effects of spinal cord injury (SCI) has primarily focused on neuropathic pain (NP), psychological issues, and sensorimotor impairments. Among SCI patients, mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, have been extensively studied. It has been found that chronic stress and NP have negative consequences and reduce the quality of life for individuals living with SCI. Our review examined both human and experimental evidence to explore the connection between mood changes following SCI and inflammatory pathways, with a specific focus on NLRP3 inflammasome signaling. We observed increased proinflammatory factors in the blood, as well as in the brain and spinal cord tissues of SCI models. The NLRP3 inflammasome plays a crucial role in various diseases by controlling the release of proinflammatory molecules like interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. Dysregulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in key brain regions associated with pain processing, such as the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, contributes to the development of mood disorders following SCI. In this review, we summarized recent research on the expression and regulation of components related to NLRP3 inflammasome signaling in mood disorders following SCI. Finally, we discussed potential therapeutic approaches that target the NLRP3 inflammasome and regulate proinflammatory cytokines as a way to treat mood disorders following SCI.