- 2017;20;419-427Activation of the RAGE/STAT3 Pathway in the Dorsal Root Ganglion Contributes to the Persistent Pain Hypersensitivity Induced by Lumbar Disc Herniation
Xin-Sheng Zhang, MD, Xiao Li, MD, Hai-Jie Luo, MD, Zhu-Xi Huang, MD, Cui-cui Liu, MD, Qing Wan, MD, PhD, Shu-Wei Xu, MD, Shao-Ling Wu, MD, PhD, Song-Jian Ke, MD, and Chao Ma, MD, PhD.
BACKGROUND: Clinically, chronic low back pain and sciatica associated with lumbar disc herniation (LDH) is a common musculoskeletal disorder. Due to the unawareness of detailed mechanisms, it is difficult to get an effective therapy.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to identify the role of the RAGE/STAT3 pathway in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) on the formation and development of persistent pain hypersensitivity induced by LDH.
STUDY DESIGN: Controlled animal study.
SETTING: University laboratory.
METHODS: After LDH induced by implantation of autologous nucleus pulposus (NP, harvested from animal tail) on the left L5 nerve root was established, mechanical thresholds and electrophysiological tests were conducted at relevant time points during an observation period of 28 days. Protein levels and localization of RAGE and p-STAT3 were performed by using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry, respectively.
RESULTS: LDH induced persistent pain hypersensitivity, increased excitability of DRG neurons, and upregulated the expression of RAGE and p-STAT3 in the DRG. Consecutive injection of both RAGE antagonist FPS-ZM1 (i.t.) and STAT3 activity inhibitor S3I-201 (i.t.) inhibited the enhanced excitability of DRG neurons and mechanical allodynia induced by NP implantation. Furthermore, local knockdown of STAT3 by intrathecal injection of AAV-Cre-GFP into STAT3flox/flox mice markedly alleviated NP implantation-induced mechanical allodynia in mice. Importantly, the expression of p-STAT3 was colocalized with that of RAGE in the DRG and inhibition of RAGE with FPS-ZM1 prevented NP implantation-induced STAT3 activation.
LIMITATIONS: More underlying mechanism(s) of the role of the RAGE/STAT3 pathway on the formation and development of persistent pain hypersensitivity induced by LDH will be needed to be explored in future research.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest activation of the RAGE/STAT3 pathway plays a critical role in persistent pain induced by LDH, and this pathway may represent novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of LDH-induced persistent pain.
KEY WORDS: Lumbar disc herniation, persistent pain, RAGE, STAT3, DRG