The Journal of surgical research

p38 and interleukin-1 beta pathway via toll-like receptor 4 contributed to the skin and muscle incision and retraction-induced allodynia.

PMID 25979559


Persistent postsurgical pain, as an important clinical problem, seriously affects the quality of life in patients. However, the mechanism underlying persistent postsurgical pain remains largely unclear. The present study aims to elucidate the involvement of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and its interaction with p38 and interleukin [IL]-1β signaling in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in the persistent postsurgical pain. Skin and muscle incision and retraction (SMIR) surgery-induced paw withdrawal threshold (PWT) change was determined by applying mechanical stimuli to the plantar surface of the hind paw using von Frey hairs. The PE-10 catheter intrathecal placement was used to deliver LPS-RS, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, or SB203580. Western blot analysis was performed to measure the expression of the TLR4, mitogen-activated protein kinases family, and IL-1β in ipsilateral L3 and L4 DRG. Immunofluorescence staining was performed to further investigate the cell type of TLR4 expression. All data were expressed as means ± standard error of the mean and analyzed using SPSS 13.0. The results showed that the SMIR surgery, a rat model of persistent postoperative pain, decreased the ipsilateral 50% PWT, and the decrease lasted for at least 20 d. The expression of TLR4 and phosphorylation of p38 were upregulated in ipsilateral L3 and L4 DRG neurons after SMIR surgery. Pretreatment with LPS-RS, an established TLR4 antagonist, prevented p38 activation and attenuated mechanical allodynia induced by SMIR surgery. In addition, the expression of IL-1β was significantly increased after SMIR surgery. Blocking IL-1β by interleukin-1 receptor antagonist significantly improved the decreased PWT evoked by SMIR. Moreover, inhibition of TLR4 or p38 pathway prevented the IL-1β upregulation and mechanical allodynia induced by SMIR. These findings suggest that the activation of p38 and IL-1β signaling pathway via TLR4 mediate mechanical allodynia after SMIR surgery.