The Journal of comparative neurology

Phenotypic changes in dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord in the collagen antibody-induced arthritis mouse model.

PMID 25631752


The mechanisms underlying rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-induced pain are still not fully elucidated, and accumulating data indicate that peripheral inflammation is not the only factor driving pain in these patients. The focus of our work is to investigate the molecular basis for long-term alterations in nociceptive pathways induced by polyarthritis using the collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) mouse model. In this model, mechanical hypersensitivity outlasts the joint inflammation by weeks. Here we examined expression levels of neuropeptides, ion channels, and nerve injury markers associated with neuropathic and/or inflammatory pain in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) and spinal cord both during the peak of inflammation (day 15) and when the inflammation has resolved but the hypersensitivity persists (days 45-47). No apparent differences were observed in substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide, or neuropeptide Y protein expression in DRGs and spinal cord of CAIA mice. However, the neuropeptide galanin, the ATP-gated ion channel P2X3, and calcium channel subunit α2δ1 were significantly increased in the CAIA DRGs as compared to controls, both 15 and 47 days after induction of arthritis. On day 15 there was an increase in expression of two factors associated with nerve injury and cell stress, activating transcription factor 3 and growth-associated protein 43 in DRGs, whereby the latter was still dramatically upregulated after 47 days. In conclusion, this study suggests that long-term joint inflammation has an impact on DRG neurons that resembles both inflammation and nerve injury-induced pain states. Thus, antibody-driven inflammation generates a pain state with a unique neurochemical profile.