Dynamic regulation of spinal pro-inflammatory cytokine release in the rat in vivo following peripheral nerve injury.

Kevin Whitehead, CG Smith, SA Delaney, Stephen Curnow, M Salmon, JP Hughes, IP Chessell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)


Spinal release of cytokines may play a critical role in the maladapted nociceptive signaling underlying chronic pain states. In order to investigate this biology, we have developed a novel 'high flux' intrathecal microdialysis approach in combination with multiplex bead-based immunoassay technology to concurrently monitor the spinal release of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)alpha in rats with unilateral sciatic nerve chronic constriction injury (CCI). Intrathecal microdialysis was performed under isoflurane/N(2)O anaesthesia in rats with confirmed mechanical hypersensitivity. In a first study, C-fiber strength electrical stimulation of the operated nerve in neuropathic rats was found to evoke a dramatic increase in IL-1beta efflux ( approximately 15-fold) that was significantly greater than that observed in the sham-operated group. Spinal IL-6 efflux was also responsive to primary afferent stimulation, whereas TNFalpha was not. In a second study, treatment with the glial inhibitor propentofylline for 7days normalized CCI-induced mechanical hypersensitivity. In the same animals, this treatment also significantly reduced intrathecal IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNFalpha and prevented afferent stimulation-evoked cytokine release of both IL-1beta and IL-6. These results provide support for glia as the source of the majority of intrathecal IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNFalpha that accompanies mechanical hypersensitivity in the CCI rat. Moreover, our studies demonstrate the ability of a neurone-glia signaling mechanism to dynamically modulate this release and support a role of spinal IL-1beta in the phasic transmission of abnormal pain signals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-576
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behaviour, and Immunity
Issue number4
Early online date24 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010


  • Microdialysis
  • Tumour necrosis factor alpha
  • Propentofylline
  • Pain
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuropathy
  • Interleukin


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