BACKGROUND: Chronic pain is one of the most common complaints in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated sensory neuropathy. Ryanodine receptor (RyR) and mitochondrial oxidative stress are involved in neuropathic pain induced by nerve injury. Here, we investigated the role of RyR and mitochondrial superoxide in neuropathic pain induced by repeated intrathecal HIV glycoprotein 120 (gp120) injection. METHODS: Recombinant HIV glycoprotein gp120MN was intrathecally administered to induce neuropathic pain. Mechanical threshold was tested using von Frey filaments. Peripheral nerve fiber was assessed by the quantification of the intraepidermal nerve fiber density in the skin of the hindpaw. The expression of spinal RyR was examined using Western blots. Colocalization of RyR with neuronal nuclei (NeuN; neuron marker), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP; astrocyte marker), or ionizing calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1; microglia marker) in the spinal cord was examined using immunohistochemistry. MitoSox-positive profiles (a mitochondrial-targeted fluorescent superoxide indicator) were examined. The antiallodynic effects of intrathecal administration of RyR antagonist, dantrolene (a clinical drug for malignant hyperthermia management), or selective mitochondrial superoxide scavenger, Mito-Tempol, were evaluated in the model. RESULTS: We found that repeated but not single intrathecal injection of recombinant protein gp120 induced persistent mechanical allodynia. Intraepidermal nerve fibers in repeated gp120 group was lower than that in sham at 2 weeks, and the difference in means (95% confidence interval) was 8.495 (4.79-12.20), P = .0014. Repeated gp120 increased expression of RyR, and the difference in means (95% confidence interval) was 1.50 (0.504-2.495), P = .007. Repeated gp120 also increased mitochondrial superoxide cell number in the spinal cord, and the difference in means (95% confidence interval) was 6.99 (5.99-8.00), P < .0001. Inhibition of spinal RyR or selective mitochondrial superoxide scavenger dose dependently reduced mechanical allodynia induced by repeated gp120 injection. RyR and mitochondrial superoxide were colocalized in the neuron, but not glia. Intrathecal injection of RyR inhibitor lowered mitochondrial superoxide in the spinal cord dorsal horn in the gp120 neuropathic pain model. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that repeated intrathecal HIV gp120 injection induced an acute to chronic pain translation in rats, and that neuronal RyR and mitochondrial superoxide in the spinal cord dorsal horn played an important role in the HIV neuropathic pain model. The current results provide evidence for a novel approach to understanding the molecular mechanisms of HIV chronic pain and treating chronic pain in patients with HIV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine