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Role of P2X7 Receptor-Mediated IL-18/IL-18R Signaling in Morphine Tolerance: Multiple Glial-Neuronal Dialogues in the Rat Spinal Cord

  • Meng-Ling Chen
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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  • Hong Cao
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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  • Yu-Xia Chu
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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  • Long-Zhen Cheng
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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  • Ling-Li Liang
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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  • Yu-Qiu Zhang
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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  • Zhi-Qi Zhao
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Zhi-Qi Zhao, PhD, Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science and State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, 138 Yi Xue-Yuan Road, Shanghai 200032, China.
    Affiliations
    Institute of Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science & State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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Published:September 10, 2012DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2012.06.007

      Abstract

      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.

      Perspective

      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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