MKK3, an upstream activator of p38, contributes to formalin phase 2 and late allodynia in mice.
ABSTRACT Spinal p38 mitogen activated (MAP) kinase plays a key role in chronic pain behavior. However, clinical development of p38 inhibitors has been hindered by significant toxicity. To evaluate alternative strategies of p38 regulation, we determined if known upstream activators of p38 (mitogen activated kinase kinase [MKK] 3 and MKK6), are involved in development and maintenance of pain and spinal p38 phosphorylation. Acute pain behaviors were not altered in MKK3 or MKK6 deficient mice. The phase 2 formalin response was delayed in MKK3-/- mice, but unchanged in magnitude, while the response remained normal in MKK6-/- mice. More striking, late formalin allodynia (3-18 days post-injection) was prominent in wild type and MKK6-/- mice, but was delayed for several days in MKK3-/- mice. In wild type, but not MKK3-/- mice, intraplantar formalin elicited increases in ipsilateral spinal MKK3/6 phosphorylation acutely and again at 9 days postinjection. Phosphorylation of MKK3/6 correlated with phase 2 formalin behavior. Wild type (WT) and MKK3-/- mice both expressed increases in spinal phosphorylated p38, however in WT mice this response began several days earlier, and was of higher magnitude and duration than in MKK3-/- mice. This phosphorylation correlated with the late allodynia. Phosphorylated MKK3/6 was detected only in astrocytes, given that phosphorylated p38 (P-p38) is usually not seen in astrocytes this argues for astrocytic release of soluble mediators that affect p38 phosphorylation in microglia. Taking these data together, MKK3, but not MKK6, is necessary for normal development of chronic pain behavior and phosphorylation of spinal p38.
Article: Long-term potentiation of neuronal excitation by neuron-glia interactions in the rat spinal dorsal horn.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: By imaging neuronal excitation in rat spinal cord slices with a voltage-sensitive dye, we examined the role of glial cells in the P2X receptor agonist alphabeta-methylene ATP (alphabetameATP)-triggered long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dorsal horn. Bath application of alphabetameATP potentiated neuronal excitation in the superficial dorsal horn. The potentiation was inhibited in the presence of the P2X receptor antagonists TNP-ATP, PPADS and A-317491, and was not induced in slices taken from rats neonatally treated with capsaicin. These results suggest that alphabetameATP acts on P2X receptors, possibly P2X(3) and/or P2X(2/3), in capsaicin-sensitive primary afferent terminals. Furthermore, the potentiation was inhibited by treatment with the glial metabolism inhibitor monofluoroacetic acid. Results obtained with the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) inhibitor SB203580, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin (IL)-6, and antibodies to TNF-alpha and IL-6, as well as by double immunolabelling of activated p38 MAPK with markers of astrocytes and microglia, demonstrated that alphabetameATP activated p38 MAPK in astrocytes, and that the presence of proinflammatory cytokines and p38 MAPK activation were necessary for the induction of alphabetameATP-triggered LTP. These findings indicate that glial cells contribute to the alphabetameATP-induced LTP, which might be part of a cellular mechanism for the induction of persistent pain.European Journal of Neuroscience 03/2007; 25(5):1297-306. · 3.63 Impact Factor
Article: Changes in expression of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve and hypoglossal nucleus after axotomy in adult rats.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades are activated in response to various extracellular stimuli. P38 MAP kinase is one of the MAP kinase family and is activated by proinflammatory cytokines and environmental stresses. Activating transcription factor-2 (ATF-2) is one of the targets for p38 MAP kinase. To obtain information on the role of the p38 MAP kinase in the neurons and glial cells after axotomy, we investigated changes of expression of p38 MAP kinase, MAP kinase kinase (MKK) 3, MKK4, MKK6 and ATF-2 in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve and the hypoglossal nucleus following axotomy in rats using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical techniques. Expression of p38 MAP kinase mRNA was observed in the neurons in control rats and showed no remarkable changes after axotomy in both nuclei. On the other hand, expression of p38 MAP kinase mRNA was observed in the perineuronal microglias after axotomy. The expression of p38 MAP kinase, activated p38 MAP kinase, MKK3 and ATF-2 were immunohistochemically observed in neurons of control rats in both nuclei. After axotomy, the expression of p38 MAP kinase, active and inactive, and ATF-2 in neurons were reduced in both nuclei, while expression of mRNA of p38 MAP kinase showed no reduction in neurons. These findings indicate that p38 MAP kinase is functionally regulated not by synthesis but by phosphorylation and regulates the activation of ATF-2 in neurons, and this cascade plays some role in retrograde neuronal reactions. Moreover, perineuronal microglial cells showed strong expression of p38 MAP kinase, active and inactive, after axotomy in both nuclei. These findings suggest that p38 MAP kinase is related to microglial cell reactions after axotomy.Neuropathology 01/2003; 22(4):261-8. · 2.02 Impact Factor
Article: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha induces mechanical allodynia after spinal nerve ligation by activation of p38 MAPK in primary sensory neurons.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) is implicated in the initiation of neuropathic pain. In vitro, TNF activates p38 mitogen-activated kinase. Accordingly, we investigated whether TNF activates the p38 cascade in vivo to trigger pain behavior after spinal nerve ligation (SNL). Treatment starting 2 d before SNL with the TNF antagonist etanercept (1 mg, i.p., every third day) attenuated mechanical allodynia. Treatment starting 1 or 7 d after SNL was ineffective. Similarly, intrathecal infusion of a p38 inhibitor (SB203580, 4 mg/d) was effective only if it was started before but not 7 d after SNL. For both treatments, the cessation of therapy resulted in increased allodynia. In separate experiments using Western blots and immunohistochemistry, ipsilateral lumbar spinal cord and L5 and L6 DRG were analyzed for total and phosphorylated p38 after SNL alone or SNL combined with etanercept pretreatment. In DRG, activated p38 was transiently elevated 5 hr after SNL and returned to baseline by 1 d after SNL. Phosphorylated p38 was localized in small TNF-positive DRG neurons. In spinal cord, p38 was activated between 5 hr and 3 d after SNL and returned to baseline within 5 d. In DRG, but not spinal cord, etanercept pretreatment blocked p38 activation. These data indicate that after SNL treatment, phosphorylated p38 levels in spinal cord and DRG are transiently elevated. In DRG, p38 activation is blocked by systemic TNF inhibition. Parallel inhibition of p38 activation and allodynia may represent a clinically relevant therapeutic window. These data suggest a sequential role for TNF and p38 in the induction of neuropathic pain.Journal of Neuroscience 05/2003; 23(7):2517-21. · 7.11 Impact Factor