The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society

Role of P2X7 receptor-mediated IL-18/IL-18R signaling in morphine tolerance: multiple glial-neuronal dialogues in the rat spinal cord.

PMID 22968128


The glial function in morphine tolerance has been explored, but its mechanisms remain unclear. Our previous study has showed that microglia-expressed P2X7 receptors (P2X7R) contribute to the induction of tolerance to morphine analgesia in rats. This study further explored the potential downstream mechanisms of P2X7R underlying morphine tolerance. The results revealed that the blockade of P2X7 receptor by P2X7R antagonist or targeting small interfering RNA (siRNA) reduced tolerance to morphine analgesia in the pain behavioral test and spinal extracellular recordings in vivo and whole-cell recording of the spinal cord slice in vitro. Chronic morphine treatment induced an increase in the expression of interleukin (IL)-18 by microglia, IL-18 receptor (IL-18R) by astrocytes, and protein kinase Cγ (PKCγ) by neurons in the spinal dorsal horn, respectively, which was blocked by a P2X7R antagonist or targeting siRNA. Chronic morphine treatment also induced an increased release of D-serine from the spinal astrocytes. Further, both D-amino acid oxygenase (DAAO), a degrading enzyme of D-serine, and bisindolylmaleimide α (BIM), a PKC inhibitor, attenuated morphine tolerance. The present study demonstrated a spinal mechanism underlying morphine tolerance, in which chronic morphine triggered multiple dialogues between glial and neuronal cells in the spinal cord via a cascade involving a P2X7R-IL-18-D-serine-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-PKCγ-mediated signaling pathway. The present study shows that glia-neuron interaction via a cascade (P2X7R-IL-18-D-serine-NMDAR-PKCγ) in the spinal cord plays an important role in morphine tolerance. This article may represent potential new therapeutic targets for preventing morphine analgesic tolerance in clinical management of chronic pain.

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Bisindolylmaleimide IV, ≥98% (TLC), solid