Current Issue - July/August - Vol 21 Issue 4


  1. 2018;21;E307-E322Pulsed Radiofrequency on Dorsal Root Ganglion Relieved Neuropathic Pain Associated with Downregulation of the Spinal Interferon Regulatory Factor 8, Microglia, p38MAPK Expression in a CCI Rat Model
    Animal Study
    Rongguo Liu, MD, PhD, Xueru Xu, MD, Yunlu Xu, PhD, Xiangyu Fang, MD, and Xingwu Lin, MD.

BACKGROUND: Interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8), which is induced by peripheral nerve injury (PNI), plays a key role in activating spinal microglia to release inflammatory cytokines in a p38-dependent way, thereafter results in formation of central sensitization. Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) on dorsal root ganglion (DRG) alleviates neuropathic pain and inhibits the microglial activation in chronic constriction injury (CCI) rats. However, the consequences of PRF on spinal IRF8 of CCI rats remains unknown.

OBJECTIVE: We explore if PRF on DRG of rats with CCI could restrain IRF8, microglia, and p38 hyperactivity in the spinal cord to alleviate neuropathic pain.

STUDY DESIGN: A randomized, controlled animal study.

SETTING: Department of Pain Management, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Fujian Key Laboratory of Geriatrics, Provincial Clinic College of Fujian Medical University.

METHODS: The changes in pain behaviors and the expressions of IRF8, Iba1 and p-p38 in the spinal cord of CCI rats which were administrated with antisense/ mismatch oligodeoxynucleotide of IRF8 were studied. Rats in CCI+AS ODN group, CCI+MM ODN group or CCI+NS group were intrathecally treated with antisense oligodeoxynucleotide of IRF8, mismatch oligodeoxynucleotide of IRF8 or same volume 0.9% NaCl once daily respectively, beginning from the day after nerve transection 12 hours and lasting for 7 days. The effects of PRF on L4-5 DRG of rats with CCI were investigated. PRF was applied adjacent to the L4-5 DRG at an intensity of 45 V for 6 minutes after CCI, whereas the control rats were treated without radiofrequency current. The withdrawal thresholds were studied and the spinal levels of IRF8, ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1, microglia characteristic marker) and p-p38 were calculated by ELISA, western blot, RT-PCR, and immunofluorescence.

RESULTS: Intrathecal administration of antisense oligodeoxynucleotide of IRF8 led to the reversal of CCI-induced allodynia, lower activation of spinal microglia and p-p38. Withdrawal thresholds were partially recovered after a single PRF treatment for 14 days. CCI-induced IRF8 upregulation, microglia hyperactivity, and p38 phosphorylation in the spinal cord were reduced due to PRF treatment. However, PRF did not alter pain behaviors and pain signals in normal rats.

LIMITATIONS: In our study, one time point was selected just to assess the levels of microglia, and p-p38. The changes of IRF8, microglia, p-p38 in the ipsilateral DRG were not investigated. A more detailed study on how PRF on the DRG could further relieve NP is needed.

CONCLUSIONS: Restraining IRF8, microglia and p38 hyperactivity in the spinal cord of CCI rats involved in the contribution to the long-lasting analgesia of PRF.

KEY WORDS: Neuropathic pain, pulsed radiofrequency, dorsal root ganglion, microglia, p38MAPK, Interferon regulatory factor 8, chronic constriction injury of sciatic nerve