Journal of neuroimmunology

Anti-IL-6 receptor antibody improves pain symptoms in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

PMID 29685293


Chronic pain is a prevalent symptom in patients with autoimmune encephalomyelitis such as multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica. Although IL-6 is involved in various inflammatory and immune diseases, the roles of IL-6 in autoimmune-related pain have not been clarified. Therefore, we examined the effect of anti-IL-6 receptor antibody (MR16-1) on the pain sensitivity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice. EAE was induced in female C57BL/6J mice by subcutaneous immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55 emulsified in adjuvant (Day 0). Pertussis toxin was intravenously administered at Days 0 and 2. Mice were sequentially scored for clinical symptoms of EAE. [Exp. 1] MR16-1 was intraperitoneally administered on Days 0 or 3. Sensitivity to pain was measured by the von Frey test (Days 7, 14, 20). The spinal cord was isolated and assessed by immunohistochemistry. [Exp. 2] MR16-1 was intraperitoneally administered on Day 12 when significant pain had already occurred. Pain assessment was conducted before the immunization, on Day 12 and after EAE onset. And then, spinal cord was isolated and flow cytometry was performed. [Exp. 1] MR16-1 prevented the increase in clinical score and sensitivity to pain in EAE mice. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that Iba1+ microglia were increased in the spinal cord of EAE mice, and were reduced by MR16-1. [Exp. 2] Administration of MR16-1 on Day 12 also reduced sensitivity to pain under EAE onset. Flow cytometry showed that CD45lowCD11b+ microglia were increased in the spinal cord of EAE mice, and that this increase was inhibited by MR16-1. These findings suggest that MR16-1 can decrease mechanical allodynia in EAE mice through inhibition of microglial activation and proliferation in the spinal cord.

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