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Papers: 6 April 2024 - 12 April 2024

2024 Apr 09



Sexually dimorphic effects of pexidartinib on nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain in mice.


Saika F, Fukazawa Y, Hatano Y, Kishioka S, Hino Y, Hino S, Suzuki K, Kiguchi N


It is well-established that spinal microglia and peripheral macrophages play critical roles in the etiology of neuropathic pain; however, growing evidence suggests sex differences in pain hypersensitivity owing to microglia and macrophages. Therefore, it is crucial to understand sex- and androgen-dependent characteristics of pain-related myeloid cells in mice with nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain. To deplete microglia and macrophages, pexidartinib (PLX3397), an inhibitor of the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor, was orally administered, and mice were subjected to partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSL). Following PSL induction, healthy male and female mice and male gonadectomized (GDX) mice exhibited similar levels of spinal microglial activation, peripheral macrophage accumulation, and mechanical allodynia. Treatment with PLX3397 significantly suppressed mechanical allodynia in normal males; this was not observed in female and GDX male mice. Sex- and androgen-dependent differences in the PLX3397-mediated preventive effects were observed on spinal microglia and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) macrophages, as well as in expression patterns of pain-related inflammatory mediators in these cells. Conversely, no sex- or androgen-dependent differences were detected in sciatic nerve macrophages, and inhibition of peripheral CC-chemokine receptor 5 prevented neuropathic pain in both sexes. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the presence of considerable sex- and androgen-dependent differences in the etiology of neuropathic pain in spinal microglia and DRG macrophages but not in sciatic nerve macrophages. Given that the mechanisms of neuropathic pain may differ among experimental models and clinical conditions, accumulating several lines of evidence is crucial to comprehensively clarifying the sex-dependent regulatory mechanisms of pain.