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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Sep 2023 - 6 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 03



Editor's Pick

Role of pattern recognition receptors in chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.


Araldi D, Khomula EV, Bonet IJM, Bogen O, Green PG, Levine JD


Progress in the development of effective chemotherapy is producing a growing population of patients with acute and chronic painful chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a serious treatment limiting side effect for which there is currently no FDA approved treatment. CIPN induced by diverse classes of chemotherapy drugs have remarkably similar clinical presentations leading to the suggestion they share underlying mechanisms. Sensory neurons share with immune cells, the ability to detect Damage Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs), molecules produced by diverse cell types in response to cellular stress and injury, including by chemotherapy drugs. DAMPs, in turn, are ligands for Pattern Recognition Receptors (PRRs), several of which are found on sensory neurons, as well as satellite cells, and cells of the immune system. In the present experiments we evaluated the role of two PRRs, toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells, in CIPN. Intrathecal antisense (AS) oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) against TLR4 and RAGE mRNA were administered before (prevention protocol) or 3 days after (reversal protocol) the last administration of each of three chemotherapy drugs that treat cancer by different mechanisms (oxaliplatin, paclitaxel, and bortezomib). TLR4 and RAGE AS-ODN prevented the development of CIPN induced by all three chemotherapy drugs. In the reversal protocol, however, while TLR4 AS-ODN completely reversed oxaliplatin- and paclitaxel-induced CIPN, in rats with bortezomib-induced CIPN it only produced a temporary attenuation. RAGE AS-ODN, in contrast, reversed CIPN induced by all three chemotherapy drugs. When a TLR4 antagonist was administered intradermally to the peripheral nociceptor terminal, it did not affect CIPN induced by any of the chemotherapy drugs. However, when administered intrathecally, to the central terminal, it attenuated hyperalgesia induced by all three chemotherapy drugs, compatible with a role of TLR4 in neurotransmission at the central terminal but not sensory transduction at the peripheral terminal. Finally, since it has been established that cultured DRG neurons can be used to study direct effects of chemotherapy on nociceptors, we also evaluated the role of TLR4 in CIPN, at the cellular level, using patch-clamp electrophysiology in DRG neurons cultured from control and chemotherapy-treated rats. We found that increased excitability of small-diameter DRG neurons induced by in vivo and in vitro exposure to oxaliplatin is TLR4 dependent. Our findings suggest that in addition to the established contribution of PRR-dependent neuroimmune mechanisms, PRRs in DRG cells also have an important role in CIPN.