Intraspinal injection of quisqualic acid (QUIS) produces excitotoxic injury with pathophysiological characteristics similar to those associated with ischemic and traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Responses to QUIS-induced injury include an inflammatory component, as well as the development of spontaneous and evoked pain behaviors. We hypothesized that QUIS-induced inflammation and subsequent gene expression contribute to the development and progression of pain-related behaviors and that blockade of inflammation-related gene expression leads to the amelioration of these behaviors. Using the QUIS model of spinal cord injury, we examined whether interleukin-10 (IL-10), a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine, is able to reduce mRNA levels of inflammatory and cell death-related genes leading to a reduction of pain behaviors. The results demonstrate that animals receiving systemic injection of IL-10, 30 minutes following QUIS-induced SCI, showed a significant delay in the onset of excessive grooming behavior, a significant reduction in grooming severity, and a significant reduction in the longitudinal extent of a pattern of neuronal loss within the spinal cord characterized as "grooming-type damage." QUIS injections also resulted in an increase in mRNA levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), CD95 ligand (CD95-L, also called FAS-L/APO-1L), and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Results of QUIS injury plus IL-10 treatment resulted in a significant downregulation of IL1-β and iNOS mRNA and these results were supported by Western blot analysis of protein levels following IL-10 treatment. These data suggest that IL-10 reduces inflammation and that targeting injury-induced inflammation is an effective strategy for limiting the extent of neuronal damage following excitotoxic SCI and thus the onset and progression of injury-induced pain behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience