[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Neuropathic pain is the most difficult type of pain to control, and patients lose their motivation for the purposive pursuit with a decrease in their quality of life. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis, we demonstrated that blood oxygenation level-dependent signal intensity was increased in the ipsilateral nucleus accumbens (N.Acc.) following peripheral nerve injury. microRNAs are small, noncoding RNA molecules that direct the post-transcriptional suppression of gene expression, and play an important role in regulating synaptic plasticity. In this study, we found that sciatic nerve ligation induced a drastic decrease in the expression of miR200b and miR429 in N.Acc. neurons. The expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a (DNMT3a), which is the one of the predicted targets of miR200b/429, was significantly increased in the limbic forebrain including N.Acc. at 7 d after sciatic nerve ligation. Double-immunolabeling with antibodies specific to DNMT3a and NR1 showed that DNMT3a-immunoreactivity in the N.Acc. was located in NR1-labeled neurons, indicating that increased DNMT3a proteins were dominantly expressed in postsynaptic neurons in the N.Acc. area under a neuropathic pain-like state. The results of these analyses provide new insight into an epigenetic modification that is accompanied by a dramatic decrease in miR200b and miR429 along with the dysfunction of "mesolimbic motivation/valuation circuitry" under a neuropathic pain-like state. These phenomena may result in an increase in DNMT3a in neurons of the N.Acc. under neuropathic pain, which leads to the long-term transcription-silencing of several genes.
Preview · Article · Oct 2011 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We previously demonstrated that the discriminative stimulus effects of the κ-opioid receptor agonist U-50,488H were associated with its aversive effects in rats. However, its molecular signaling mechanisms are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the intracellular signaling that plays a role in mediating the discriminative stimulus effect induced by U-50,488H. To better understand the involvement of molecular signaling mechanisms in the discriminative stimulus effects of U-50,488H, rats were subjected to a drug discrimination paradigm, and levels of immunoreactivity and mRNA expression were determined in these rats. Although U-50,488H-trained rats did not show changes in the mRNA expression of typical dopamine (DA) receptors, NMDA receptor subunits, or transcriptional activators, there were remarkable changes in the levels of immunoreactivity of several phosphorylated protein kinases. The levels of immunoreactivity of phosphorylated p38 MAPK and phosphorylated calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) were significantly increased in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala in lever-press, yoked and discrimination groups compared to a naive group. Furthermore, the level of phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein was also increased in both the discrimination and yoked groups. In contrast, the immunoreactivity of phosphorylated extracellular signaling-regulated kinase (ERK 1/2) was specifically increased in the discrimination group. These results suggest that the ERK signaling pathway in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala may be critical for the expression of the discriminative stimulus effects of U-50,488H.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Insomnia is a common problem for people with chronic pain. Cortical GABAergic neurons are part of the neurobiological substrate that underlies homeostatic sleep regulation. In the present study, we confirmed that sciatic nerve ligation caused thermal hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia in mice. In this experimental model for neuropathic pain, we found an increase in wakefulness and a decrease in non-rapid eye movement sleep under a neuropathic pain-like state. Under these conditions, membrane-bound GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) transporters (GATs) on activated glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astrocytes were significantly increased in the cingulate cortex, and extracellular GABA levels in this area after depolarization were rapidly decreased by nerve injury. Furthermore, sleep disturbance induced by sciatic nerve ligation was improved by the intracingulate cortex injection of a GAT-3 inhibitor. These findings provide novel evidence that sciatic nerve ligation decreases extracellular-released GABA in the cingulate cortex of mice. These phenomena may, at least in part, explain the insomnia in patients with neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain-like stimuli suppress the GABAergic transmission with increased GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) transporters located on activated astrocytes in the cingulate cortex related to sleep disturbance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Despite the importance of prefrontal cortical dopamine in modulating reward, little is known about the implication of the specific subregion of prefrontal cortex in opioid reward. We investigated the role of neurons projecting from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACG) in opioid reward. Microinjection of the retrograde tracer fluorogold (FG) into the ACG revealed several retrogradely labelled cells in the VTA. The FG-positive reactions were noted in both tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive and -negative VTA neurons. The released levels of dopamine and its major metabolites in the ACG were increased by either the electrical stimulation of VTA neurons or microinjection of a selective μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonist, (D-Ala²,N-MePhe⁴,Gly-ol⁵) enkephalin (DAMGO), into the VTA. MOR-like immunoreactivity was seen in both TH-positive and -negative VTA neurons projecting to the ACG. The conditioned place preference induced by intra-VTA injection of DAMGO was significantly attenuated by chemical lesion of dopaminergic terminals in the ACG. The depletion of dopamine in the ACG induced early extinction of μ-opioid-induced place preference. The levels of phosphorylated DARPP32 (Thr34) and phosphorylated CREB (Ser133) were increased in the ACG of rats that had maintained the morphine-induced place preference, whereas the increases of these levels induced by morphine were blocked by pre-treatment of a selective dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH23390. These findings suggest that VTA-ACG transmission may play a crucial role in the acquisition and maintenance of μ-opioid-induced place preference. The activation of DARPP32 and CREB through dopamine D1 receptors in the ACG could be implicated in the maintenance of μ-opioid-induced place preference.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Addiction Biology