Neuroscience letters

Activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha in rat spinal cord after peripheral noxious stimulation.

PMID 15380308


Following recurrent noxious stimulation, both functional modification and structural reorganization such as activation of the arachidonate cascade or axon sprouting occur in the central nervous system (CNS). It has been recently proposed that these alterations observed during chronic pain state were supported by an intensification of the lipid metabolism. In this regard, it has been shown that mRNA coding for several fatty acid metabolizing enzymes are up-regulated in the rat lumbar spinal cord in response to persistent nociception induced by a peripheral inflammation. As peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor (PPAR) could mediate such effects, we therefore investigated the activation of this transcription factor in the rat spinal cord following subcutaneous injection of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into a hind paw. In this study, we compared the DNA-binding activity of nuclear proteins extracted from healthy and inflamed rats toward a PPAR response element. Using electrophoretic mobility-shift assay (EMSA), we found that only the PPARalpha isoform was activated in the rat spinal cord after CFA injection. This activation occurred rapidly, as early as 30 min post-CFA injection, and was persistent up to 10 h, reaching a maximum at 6h after CFA injection. In view of the consequences of PPARalpha activation in other tissues, these results suggest that fatty acid utilization is enhanced in the CNS during chronic pain state. Although the physiopathological relevance of PPARalpha activation during hyperalgesia needs further investigation, we provided here a new player in the molecular modeling of pain pathways.