It is now widely accepted that intercellular communication can cause significant variations in cellular responses to genotoxic stress. The radiation-induced bystander effect is a prime example of this effect, where cells shielded from radiation exposure see a significant reduction in survival when cultured with irradiated cells. However, there is a lack of robust, quantitative models of this effect which are widely applicable. In this work, we present a novel mathematical model of radiation-induced intercellular signalling which incorporates signal production and response kinetics together with the effects of direct irradiation, and test it against published data sets, including modulated field exposures. This model suggests that these so-called “bystander” effects play a significant role in determining cellular survival, even in directly irradiated populations, meaning that the inclusion of intercellular communication may be essential to produce robust models of radio-biological outcomes in clinically relevant in vivo situations.
Femoral-neck fracture in the elderly population is a problem that demands the attention of the orthopaedic community as life expectancy continues to increase. There are several different treatment options in use, and this variety in and of itself indicates the absence of an ideal single treatment option. Recent debate has focussed on the probable superiority of total hip arthroplasty (THA) over hemiarthroplasty for femoral-neck fracture. Clinical trials and systematic reviews of such trials have not provided a convincing answer to this question.
We analysed data from national registries evaluating prosthetic replacements for femoral-neck fracture in the elderly. We compared revision and reoperation rates of hemiarthroplasty and THA, analysed the prognostic variables that influenced implant survival and the major causes of failure.
Data from the Australian and Italian registries indicate that THA has an increased revision rate compared with bipolar hemiarthroplasty in femoral-neck fracture in the elderly. The registries identify that age over 75 years and the use of the anterior surgical approach are associated with better survivorship in patients who have a hemiarthroplasty. Cemented fixation of the femoral stem in hemiarthroplasty and THA is supported by registry data. Acetabular erosion accounted for a very low percentage of hemiarthroplasty revisions and reoperations.
Our review of data from national registries supports the continued use of bipolar hemiarthroplasty in femoral-neck fracture in the elderly and identifies age, method of fixation and surgical approach as important prognostic variables in determining implant survival.
A focused strategy has been directed towards the structural characterization of selected proteins from the bacterial pathogen P. aeruginosa. The objective is to exploit the resulting structural data, in combination with ligand-binding studies, and to assess the potential of these proteins for early-stage antimicrobial drug discovery.
Bacterial infections are increasingly difficult to treat owing to the spread of antibiotic resistance. A major concern is Gram-negative bacteria, for which the discovery of new antimicrobial drugs has been particularly scarce. In an effort to accelerate early steps in drug discovery, the EU-funded AEROPATH project aims to identify novel targets in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa by applying a multidisciplinary approach encompassing target validation, structural characterization, assay development and hit identification from small-molecule libraries. Here, the strategies used for target selection are described and progress in protein production and structure analysis is reported. Of the 102 selected targets, 84 could be produced in soluble form and the de novo structures of 39 proteins have been determined. The crystal structures of eight of these targets, ranging from hypothetical unknown proteins to metabolic enzymes from different functional classes (PA1645, PA1648, PA2169, PA3770, PA4098, PA4485, PA4992 and PA5259), are reported here. The structural information is expected to provide a firm basis for the improvement of hit compounds identified from fragment-based and high-throughput screening campaigns.
protein structure; Gram-negative bacteria; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; infectious diseases; structure-based inhibitor design
Sensitivity to pain varies considerably between individuals and is known to be heritable. Increased sensitivity to experimental pain is a risk factor for developing chronic pain, a common and debilitating but poorly understood symptom. To understand mechanisms underlying pain sensitivity and to search for rare gene variants (MAF<5%) influencing pain sensitivity, we explored the genetic variation in individuals' responses to experimental pain. Quantitative sensory testing to heat pain was performed in 2,500 volunteers from TwinsUK (TUK): exome sequencing to a depth of 70× was carried out on DNA from singletons at the high and low ends of the heat pain sensitivity distribution in two separate subsamples. Thus in TUK1, 101 pain-sensitive and 102 pain-insensitive were examined, while in TUK2 there were 114 and 96 individuals respectively. A combination of methods was used to test the association between rare variants and pain sensitivity, and the function of the genes identified was explored using network analysis. Using causal reasoning analysis on the genes with different patterns of SNVs by pain sensitivity status, we observed a significant enrichment of variants in genes of the angiotensin pathway (Bonferroni corrected p = 3.8×10−4). This pathway is already implicated in animal models and human studies of pain, supporting the notion that it may provide fruitful new targets in pain management. The approach of sequencing extreme exome variation in normal individuals has provided important insights into gene networks mediating pain sensitivity in humans and will be applicable to other common complex traits.
Chronic widespread pain is a complex clinical problem. Identification of underlying genetic factors would shed light on the biology of pain and offer targets for novel therapies. We aimed to identify rare genetic variants in the normal population associated with pain sensation by performing exome sequencing on individuals who were more or less sensitive to heat pain. While we did not identify any single variants having large effect, we did observe major group differences between the sensitive and insensitive individuals. Network analysis suggested a role for the angiotensin pathway, which previous work in animal models has suggested is important in pain mediation. Our results cast light on the genetic factors underlying normal pain sensation in humans and the utility of exome analyses. It suggests that further exploration of the angiotensin pathway may reveal novel targets for the treatment of pain.
In the majority of spinal cord injuries (SCIs) some axonal projections remain intact. We examined the functional status of these surviving axons, since they represent a prime therapeutic target. Using a novel electrophysiological preparation, adapted from techniques used to study primary demyelination, we quantified conduction failure across a SCI and studied conduction changes over time in adult rats with a moderate severity spinal contusion (150 kilodyne, Infinite Horizon impactor). By recording antidromically activated single units from teased dorsal root filaments we demonstrate complete conduction block in ascending dorsal column axons acutely (1-7 days) post-injury, followed by a period of restored conduction over the sub-acute phase (2-4 weeks), with no further improvements in conduction at chronic stages (3-6 months). By cooling the lesion site additional conducting fibres could be recruited, thus revealing a population of axons that are viable but unable to conduct under normal physiological conditions. Importantly, this phenomenon is still apparent at the most chronic (6 month) time point. The time course of conduction changes corresponded with changes in behavioural function, and ultrastructural analysis of dorsal column axons revealed extensive demyelination during the period of conduction block, followed by progressive remyelination. A proportion of dorsal column axons remained chronically demyelinated, suggesting that these are the axons recruited with the cooling paradigm. Thus, using a clinically relevant SCI model we have identified a population of axons present at chronic injury stages which are intact but fail to conduct and are therefore a prime target for therapeutic strategies to restore function.
During the delivery of advanced radiotherapy treatment techniques modulated beams are utilised to increase dose conformity across the target volume. Recent investigations have highlighted differential cellular responses to modulated radiation fields particularly in areas outside the primary treatment field that cannot be accounted for by scattered dose alone. In the present study, we determined the DNA damage response within the normal human fibroblast AG0-1522B and the prostate cancer cell line DU-145 utilising the DNA damage assay. Cells plated in slide flasks were exposed to 1 Gy uniform or modulated radiation fields. Modulated fields were delivered by shielding 25%, 50% or 75% of the flask during irradiation. The average number of 53BP1 or γH2AX foci was measured in 2 mm intervals across the slide area. Following 30 minutes after modulated radiation field exposure an increase in the average number of foci out-of-field was observed when compared to non-irradiated controls. In-field, a non-uniform response was observed with a significant decrease in the average number of foci compared to uniformly irradiated cells. Following 24 hrs after exposure there is evidence for two populations of responding cells to bystander signals in-and out-of-field. There was no significant difference in DNA damage response between 25%, 50% or 75% modulated fields. The response was dependent on cellular secreted intercellular signalling as physical inhibition of intercellular communication abrogated the observed response. Elevated residual DNA damage observed within out-of-field regions decreased following addition of an inducible nitric oxide synthase inhibitor (Aminoguanidine). These data show, for the first time, differential DNA damage responses in-and out-of-field following modulated radiation field delivery. This study provides further evidence for a role of intercellular communication in mediating cellular radiobiological response to modulated radiation fields and may inform the refinement of existing radiobiological models for the optimization of advanced radiotherapy treatment plans.
DNA recombinases (RecA in bacteria, Rad51 in eukarya and RadA in archaea) catalyse strand-exchange between homologous DNA molecules, the central reaction of homologous recombination, and are among the most conserved DNA repair proteins known. In bacteria, RecA is the sole protein responsible for this reaction, whereas, in eukaryotes, there are several RAD51 paralogs that cooperate to catalyse strand exchange. All archaea have at least one (and as many as four) RadA paralogs, but their function remains unclear. Here we show the three RadA paralogs encoded by the Sulfolobus solfataricus genome are expressed under normal growth conditions, and are not UV-inducible. We demonstrate that one of these proteins, Sso2452, which is representative of the large aRadC sub-family of archaeal RadA paralogs, functions as an ATPase that binds tightly to ssDNA. However, Sso2452 is not an active recombinase in vitro, and inhibits D-loop formation by RadA. We present the high-resolution crystal structure of Sso2452, which reveals key structural differences from the canonical RecA family recombinases that may explain its functional properties. The possible roles of the archaeal RadA paralogs in vivo are discussed.
Archaea; Recombinase; RadA; Homologous Recombination; Strand Exchange
This follow-up study aims to determine the physical parameters which govern the differential radiosensitization capacity of two tumor cell lines and one immortalized normal cell line to 1.9 nm gold nanoparticles. In addition to comparing the uptake potential, localization, and cytotoxicity of 1.9 nm gold nanoparticles, the current study also draws on comparisons between nanoparticle size and total nanoparticle uptake based on previously published data.
We quantified gold nanoparticle uptake using atomic emission spectroscopy and imaged intracellular localization by transmission electron microscopy. Cell growth delay and clonogenic assays were used to determine cytotoxicity and radiosensitization potential, respectively. Mechanistic data were obtained by Western blot, flow cytometry, and assays for reactive oxygen species.
Gold nanoparticle uptake was preferentially observed in tumor cells, resulting in an increased expression of cleaved caspase proteins and an accumulation of cells in sub G1 phase. Despite this, gold nanoparticle cytotoxicity remained low, with immortalized normal cells exhibiting an LD50 concentration approximately 14 times higher than tumor cells. The surviving fraction for gold nanoparticle-treated cells at 3 Gy compared with that of untreated control cells indicated a strong dependence on cell type in respect to radiosensitization potential.
Gold nanoparticles were most avidly endocytosed and localized within cytoplasmic vesicles during the first 6 hours of exposure. The lack of significant cytotoxicity in the absence of radiation, and the generation of gold nanoparticle-induced reactive oxygen species provide a potential mechanism for previously reported radiosensitization at megavoltage energies.
endocytosis; proliferation; reactive oxygen species; transmission electron microscopy
Chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of spinal cord injury due to its potent effects on restoring function to spinal injured adult mammals. However, there is limited mechanistic insight as to the underlying effects of ChABC treatment, where the effects are mediated, and which signalling pathways are involved in ChABC-mediated repair. Here we utilise a transgenic (YFP-H) mouse to demonstrate that cortical layer V projection neurons undergo severe atrophy four weeks following thoracic dorsal column injury and that ChABC is neuroprotective for these neurons following ICV infusion. ChABC also prevented cell atrophy following localised delivery to the spinal cord, suggesting a possible retrograde neuroprotective effect mediated at the injury site. Furthermore, neuroprotection of corticospinal cell somata coincided with increased axonal sprouting in the spinal cord. In addition, Western blot analysis of a number of kinases important in survival and growth signalling revealed a significant increase in phosphorylated ERK1 at the spinal injury site following in vivo ChABC treatment, indicating that activated ERK may play a role in downstream repair processes following ChABC treatment. Total forms of PKC and AKT were also elevated, indicating that modification of the glial scar by ChABC promotes long-lasting signalling changes at the lesion site. Thus, using the YFP-H mouse as a novel tool to study degenerative changes and repair following spinal cord injury we demonstrate, for the first time, that ChABC treatment regulates multiple signalling cascades at the injury site and exerts protective effects on axotomised corticospinal projection neurons.
spinal cord injury; proteoglycan; neuroprotection; regeneration; repair; transgenic
Small proline-rich repeat protein 1A (SPRR1A) is expressed in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons following peripheral nerve injury but it is not known whether SPRR1A is differentially expressed following injury to peripheral versus central DRG projections and a detailed characterisation of expression in sensory neuron sub-populations and spinal cord has not been performed. Here we use immunocytochemical techniques to characterise SPRR1A expression following sciatic nerve, dorsal root and dorsal column injury in adult mice. SPRR1A was not detected in naïve spinal cord, DRG or peripheral nerves and there was minimal expression following injury to the centrally projecting branches of DRG neurons. However, following peripheral (sciatic) nerve injury, intense SPRR1A immunoreactivity was observed in the dorsal horn and motoneurons of the spinal cord, in L4/5 DRG neurons and in the injured nerve. A time-course study comparing expression following sciatic nerve crush and transection revealed maximum SPRR1A levels at day 7 in both models. However, while SPRR1A was down-regulated to baseline by 30 days post-lesion following crush injury, it remained elevated 30 days after transection. Cell-size and double-labelling studies revealed that SPRR1A was expressed by DRG cells of all sizes and co-localized with classical markers of DRG subpopulations and their primary afferent terminals. High co-expression of SPRR1A with activating transcription factor-3 and growth-associated protein-43 was observed, indicating that it is expressed by injured and regenerating neurons. This study supports the hypothesis that SPRR1A is a regeneration-associated gene and that SPRR1A provides a valuable marker to assess the regenerative potential of injured neurons.
nerve injury and repair; axonal regeneration; immunolabelling; primary afferents; dorsal root ganglia; regeneration-associated genes
Cathepsin L mutants with the ability to condense silica from solution have been generated and a 1.5 Å crystal structure of one of these chimeras allows us to rationalize the catalytic mechanism of silicic acid condensation.
Mammalian RNF4 is a dimeric RING ubiquitin E3 ligase that ubiquitylates poly-SUMOylated proteins. We found that RNF4 bound ubiquitin-charged UbcH5a tightly but free UbcH5a weakly. To provide insight into the mechanism of RING-mediated ubiquitylation we docked the UbcH5~ubiquitin thioester onto the RNF4 RING structure. This revealed that with E2 bound to one monomer of RNF4, the thioester-linked ubiquitin could reach across the dimer to engage the other monomer. In this model the “Ile44 hydrophobic patch” of ubiquitin is predicted to engage a conserved tyrosine located at the dimer interface of the RING and mutation of these residues blocked ubiquitylation activity. Thus, dimeric RING ligases are not simply inert scaffolds that bring substrate and E2-loaded ubiquitin into close proximity. Instead, they facilitate ubiquitin transfer by preferentially binding the E2~ubiquitin thioester across the dimer and activating the thioester bond for catalysis.
The XPD helicase (Rad3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a component of transcription factor IIH (TFIIH), which functions in transcription initiation and Nucleotide Excision Repair in eukaryotes, catalysing DNA duplex opening localised to the transcription start site or site of DNA damage, respectively. XPD has a 5′ to 3′ polarity and the helicase activity is dependent on an iron-sulfur cluster binding domain, a feature that is conserved in related helicases such as FancJ. The xpd gene is the target of mutation in patients with xeroderma pigentosum, trichothiodystrophy and Cockayne’s syndrome, characterised by a wide spectrum of symptoms ranging from cancer susceptibility to neurological and developmental defects. The 2.25 Å crystal structure of XPD from the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus tokodaii, presented here together with detailed biochemical analyses, allows a molecular understanding of the structural basis for helicase activity and explains the phenotypes of xpd mutations in humans.
computational chemistry; isopeptide bonds; NMR spectroscopy; protein structures
Ranasmurfin is an unusual blue protein isolated from the nests of a Malaysian tree frog, Polypedates leucomystax, showing the rich chemical diversity displayed by biomolecular foams. Many species of tropical frogs use foams to protect delicate eggs and developing embryos against environmental challenges. These nests act as miniature ecosystems containing a spectrum of novel proteins and other macromolecules with functions related to foam stabilization and adhesion, resistance to microbial degradation, predation, or dehydration, providing a biocompatible environment for embryonic development.Thisworkformspartofourwiderstudyofthe intriguing physical and chemical properties of biofoams as unusual examples of biological soft matter.
Many persistent pain states (pain lasting for hours, days, or longer) are poorly treated because of the limitations of existing therapies. Analgesics such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids often provide incomplete pain relief and prolonged use results in the development of severe side effects. Identification of the key mediators of various types of pain could improve such therapies. Here, we tested the hypothesis that hitherto unrecognized cytokines and chemokines might act as mediators in inflammatory pain. We used ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation to induce persistent, abnormal sensitivity to pain in humans and rats. The expression of more than 90 different inflammatory mediators was measured in treated skin at the peak of UVB-induced hypersensitivity with custom-made polymerase chain reaction arrays. There was a significant positive correlation in the overall expression profiles between the two species. The expression of several genes [interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)], previously shown to contribute to pain hypersensitivity, was significantly increased after UVB exposure, and there was dysregulation of several chemokines (CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL7, CCL11, CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL4, CXCL7, and CXCL8). Among the genes measured, CXCL5 was induced to the greatest extent by UVB treatment in human skin; when injected into the skin of rats, CXCL5 recapitulated the mechanical hypersensitivity caused by UVB irradiation. This hypersensitivity was associated with the infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages into the dermis, and neutralizing the effects of CXCL5 attenuated the abnormal pain-like behavior. Our findings demonstrate that the chemokine CXCL5 is a peripheral mediator of UVB-induced inflammatory pain, likely in humans as well as rats.
Central sensitization requires the activation of various intracellular signalling pathways within spinal dorsal horn neurons, leading to a lowering of activation threshold and enhanced responsiveness of these cells. Such plasticity contributes to the manifestation of chronic pain states and displays a number of features of long-term potentiation (LTP), a ubiquitous neuronal mechanism of increased synaptic strength. Here we describe the role of a novel pathway involving atypical PKCζ/PKMζ in persistent spinal nociceptive processing, previously implicated in the maintenance of late-phase LTP.
Using both behavioral tests and in vivo electrophysiology in rats, we show that inhibition of this pathway, via spinal delivery of a myristoylated protein kinase C-ζ pseudo-substrate inhibitor, reduces both pain-related behaviors and the activity of deep dorsal horn wide dynamic range neurons (WDRs) following formalin administration. In addition, Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA)-induced mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity was also reduced by inhibition of PKCζ/PKMζ activity. Importantly, this inhibition did not affect acute pain or locomotor behavior in normal rats and interestingly, did not inhibited mechanical allodynia and hyperalgesia in neuropathic rats. Pain-related behaviors in both inflammatory models coincided with increased phosphorylation of PKCζ/PKMζ in dorsal horn neurons, specifically PKMζ phosphorylation in formalin rats. Finally, inhibition of PKCζ/PKMζ activity decreased the expression of Fos in response to formalin and CFA in both superficial and deep laminae of the dorsal horn.
These results suggest that PKCζ, especially PKMζ isoform, is a significant factor involved in spinal persistent nociceptive processing, specifically, the manifestation of chronic pain states following peripheral inflammation.
atypical PKCζ; persistent spinal nociceptive processing; inflammatory pain; dorsal horn; Fos
Peripheral inflammation or nerve injury induces a primary afferent barrage into the spinal cord, which can cause N-methyl -aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent alterations in the responses of dorsal horn sensory neurons to subsequent afferent inputs. This plasticity, such as “wind-up” and central sensitization, contributes to the hyperexcitability of dorsal horn neurons and increased pain-related behavior in animal models, as well as clinical signs of chronic pain in humans, hyperalgesia and allodynia. Binding of NMDA receptor subunits by the scaffolding protein postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) can facilitate downstream intracellular signaling and modulate receptor stability, contributing to synaptic plasticity. Here, we show that spinal delivery of the mimetic peptide Tat-NR2B9c disrupts the interaction between PSD-95 and NR2B subunits in the dorsal horn and selectively reduces NMDA receptor-dependent events including wind-up of spinal sensory neurons, and both persistent formalin-induced neuronal activity and pain-related behaviors, attributed to central sensitization. Furthermore, a single intrathecal injection of Tat-NR2B9c in rats with established nerve injury-induced pain attenuates behavioral signs of mechanical and cold hypersensitivity, with no effect on locomotor performance. Thus, uncoupling of PSD-95 from spinal NR2B-containing NMDA receptors may prevent the neuronal plasticity involved in chronic pain and may be a successful analgesic therapy, reducing side effects associated with receptor blockade.
Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) have been shown to cause sensitization with kilovoltage (kV) radiation. Differences in the absorption coefficient between gold and soft tissue, as a function of photon energy, predict that maximum enhancement should occur in the kilovoltage (kV) range, with almost no enhancement at megavoltage (MV) energies. Recent studies have shown that GNPs are not biologically inert, causing oxidative stress and even cell death, suggesting a possible biological mechanism for sensitization. The purpose of this study was to assess GNP radiosensitization at clinically relevant MV X-ray energies.
Methods and Materials
Cellular uptake, intracellular localization, and cytotoxicity of GNPs were assessed in normal L132, prostate cancer DU145, and breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells. Radiosensitization was measured by clonogenic survival at kV and MV photon energies and MVelectron energies. Intracellular DNA double-strand break (DSB) induction and DNA repair were determined and GNP chemosensitization was assessed using the radiomimetic agent bleomycin.
GNP uptake occurred in all cell lines and was greatest in MDA-MB-231 cells with nanoparticles accumulating in cytoplasmic lysosomes. In MDA-MB-231 cells, radiation sensitizer enhancement ratios (SERs) of 1.41, 1.29, and 1.16 were achieved using 160 kVp, 6 MV, and 15 MV X-ray energies, respectively. No significant effect was observed in L132 or DU145 cells at kV or MV energies (SER 0.97-1.08). GNP exposure did not increase radiation-induced DSB formation or inhibit DNA repair; however, GNP chemosensitization was observed in MDA-MB-231 cells treated with bleomycin (SER 1.38).
We have demonstrated radiosensitization in MDA-MB-231 cells at MV X-ray energies. The sensitization was cell-specific with comparable effects at kV and MV energies, no increase in DSB formation, and GNP chemopotentiation with bleomycin, suggesting a possible biological mechanism of radiosensitization.
Gold nanoparticles; Radiosensitizers; Chemoradiation; Nanotechnology; DNA repair
Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are being proposed as contrast agents to enhance X-ray imaging and radiotherapy, seeking to take advantage of the increased X-ray absorption of gold compared to soft tissue. However, there is a great discrepancy between physically predicted increases in X-ray energy deposition and experimentally observed increases in cell killing. In this work, we present the first calculations which take into account the structure of energy deposition in the nanoscale vicinity of GNPs and relate this to biological outcomes, and show for the first time good agreement with experimentally observed cell killing by the combination of X-rays and GNPs. These results are not only relevant to radiotherapy, but also have implications for applications of heavy atom nanoparticles in biological settings or where human exposure is possible because the localised energy deposition high-lighted by these results may cause complex DNA damage, leading to mutation and carcinogenesis.
biosynthesis; catalysis; enzyme catalysis; enzymes
AcsD, an NRPS-independent siderophore synthetase, has been crystallized.
AcsD, a type A siderophore synthetase with a molecular weight of 71 140 Da from Pectobacterium chrysanthemi, has been expressed, purified and crystallized at 293 K. The protein crystallized in the primitive orthorhombic space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 80.3, b = 95.7, c = 161.1 Å, α = β = γ = 90°. Systematic absences were consistent with space group P212121. A complete data set has been collected to 2.25 Å resolution on BM14 at the ESRF. Consideration of the likely solvent content suggested that the asymmetric unit contained two molecules. Gel-filtration experiments indicated that the protein was a dimer, although self-rotation analyses did not detect a convincing twofold symmetry axis in the asymmetric unit. The protein has no convincing sequence match to any known structure and thus solution is likely to require experimental phasing.
siderophore synthetases; Pectobacterium chrysanthemi
P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptors are localized on sensory afferents both peripherally and centrally and have been implicated in various sensory functions. However, the physiological role of these receptors expressed presynaptically in the spinal cord in regulating sensory transmission remains to be elucidated. Here, a novel selective P2X3 and P2X2/3 antagonist, AF-792 (previously known as RO-5), in addition to less selective purinoceptor ligands, was applied intrathecally in vivo. Cystometry recordings were made to assess changes in the micturition reflex contractions following drug treatments. We found AF-792 inhibited micturition reflex activity significantly (300 nmol; from baseline contraction intervals of 1.18 ± 0.07 min to 9.33 ± 2.50 min). Furthermore, inhibition of P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptors in the spinal cord significantly attenuated spinal activation of extracellular-signal regulated kinases (ERK) induced by acute peripheral stimulation of the bladder with 1% acetic acid by 46.4 ± 12.0 % on average. Hence, the data suggest that afferent signals originating from the bladder are regulated by spinal P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptors and establish directly an endogenous central presynaptic purinergic mechanism to regulate visceral sensory transmission. Identification of this spinal purinergic control in visceral activities may help the development of P2X3 and P2X2/3 antagonist to treat urological dysfunction such as overactive bladder and possibly other debilitating sensory disorders including chronic pain states.
P2X; spinal cord; presynaptic; extracellular-signal regulated kinases; bladder; afferent
Here we show that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is a key player in the establishment of central sensitization, the spinal cord phenomenon associated with persistent afferent inputs and contributing to chronic pain states. We demonstrated electrophysiologically that PI3K is required for the full expression of spinal neuronal wind-up. In an inflammatory pain model, intrathecal administration of LY294002, a potent PI3K inhibitor, dose-dependently inhibited pain related behavior. This effect was correlated with a reduction of the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and CaMKinase II. In addition, we observed a significant decrease in the phosphorylation of the NMDA receptor subunit NR2B, decreased translocation to the plasma membrane of the GluR1 AMPA receptor subunit in the spinal cord and a reduction of evoked neuronal activity as measured using c-Fos immunohistochemistry. Our study suggests that PI3K is a major factor in the expression of central sensitization after noxious inflammatory stimuli.
Phosphorylation; ERK; GluR1; CaMKII; NMDA; formalin
The cytokine Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) released by spinal microglia in enhanced response states contributes significantly to neuronal mechanisms of chronic pain. Here we examine the involvement of the purinergic P2X7 receptor in the release of IL-1β following activation of Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) in the dorsal horn, which is associated with nociceptive behaviour and microglial activation. We observed that LPS induced release of IL-1β was prevented by pharmacological inhibition of the P2X7 receptor with A-438079, and was absent in spinal cord slices taken from P2X7 knock-out mice. Application of ATP did not evoke release of IL-1β from the dorsal horn unless preceded by an LPS priming stimulus, and this release was dependent on P2X7 receptor activation. Extensive phosphorylation of p38 MAPK in microglial cells in the dorsal horn was found to correlate with IL-1β secretion following both LPS and ATP. In behavioural studies, intrathecal injection of LPS in the lumbar spinal cord produced mechanical hyperalgesia in rat hind-paws which was attenuated by concomitant injections of either a non-specific (oxidized ATP) or a specific (A-438079) P2X7 antagonist. In addition, LPS induced hypersensitivity was observed in wild-type, but not P2X7 knock-out mice. These data suggest a critical role for the P2X7 receptor in the enhanced nociceptive transmission associated with microglial activation and secretion of IL-1β in the dorsal horn. We suggest that CNS penetrant P2X7 receptor antagonists, by targeting microglia in pain-enhanced response states, may be beneficial for the treatment of persistent pain.
Neuroinflammation; Cytokines; Microglia; Release; Lipopolysaccharide; ATP