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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Jun 2023 - 9 Jun 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain, Inflammation/Inflammatory, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jun 05

Brain Behav Immun


Editor's Pick

The microglial innate immune receptors TREM-1 and TREM-2 in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) drive visceral hypersensitivity and depressive-like behaviors following DSS-induced colitis.


Wu K, Liu YY, Shao S, Song W, Chen XH, Dong YT, Zhang YM


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition with a high recurrence rate. To date, the clinical treatment of IBD mainly focuses on inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms while ignoring the accompanying visceral pain, anxiety, depression, and other emotional symptoms. Evidence is accumulating that bi-directional communication between the gut and the brain is indispensable in the pathophysiology of IBD and its comorbidities. Increasing efforts have been focused on elucidating the central immune mechanisms in visceral hypersensitivity and depression following colitis. The triggering receptors expressed on myeloid cells-1/2 (TREM-1/2) are newly identified receptors that can be expressed on microglia. In particular, TREM-1 acts as an immune and inflammatory response amplifier, while TREM-2 may function as a molecule with a putative antagonist role to TREM-1. In the present study, using the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis model, we found that peripheral inflammation induced microglial and glutamatergic neuronal activation in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Microglial ablation mitigated visceral hypersensitivity in the inflammation phase rather than in the remission phase, subsequently preventing the emergence of depressive-like behaviors in the remission phase. Moreover, a further mechanistic study revealed that overexpression of TREM-1 and TREM-2 remarkably aggravated DSS-induced neuropathology. The improved outcome was achieved by modifying the balance of TREM-1 and TREM-2 via genetic and pharmacological means. Specifically, a deficiency of TREM-1 attenuated visceral hyperpathia in the inflammatory phase, and a TREM-2 deficiency improved depression-like symptoms in the remission phase. Taken together, our findings provide insights into mechanism-based therapy for inflammatory disorders and establish that microglial innate immune receptors TREM-1 and TREM-2 may represent a therapeutic target for the treatment of pain and psychological comorbidities associated with chronic inflammatory diseases by modulating neuroinflammatory responses.