Selective inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 blocks nerve growth factor to brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling and suppresses the development of and reverses already established pain behavior in rats

Y. Matsuoka, J. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a key role in the development of pathological pain. Although it is known that nerve growth factor (NGF) induces BDNF mRNA through extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK), whether ERK1/2 or ERK5, two closely related members of the ERK family, mediate this signal is still unclear because classical MEK inhibitors block both pathways. We studied the involvement of ERK-signaling in NGF induction of BDNF in PC12 cells, cultured dorsal root ganglia neurons, and in rats subjected to neuropathic pain models using ERK1/2- and ERK5-specific tools. Selective activation of ERK1/2 upregulated BDNF mRNA in PC12 cells, whereas selective ERK5 activation did not. AZD6244, a potent selective inhibitor of ERK1/2 activation, blocked NGF induction of BDNF mRNA in vitro suggesting that NGF induction of BDNF is mediated by ERK1/2. siRNA experiments indicated that both ERK1 or ERK2 can signal suggesting that both pathways must be blocked to prevent NGF-induced increase in BDNF mRNA. I.p. injection of AZD6244 prevented the development of pain in rats subjected to the chronic constriction injury and reversed already established pain in the spared nerve injury model. Immunohistochemical studies showed decreased phospho-ERK1/2-immunoreactivity in dorsal root ganglia and BDNF immunoreactivity in ipsilateral spinal dorsal horn in the drug-treated rats. Our results suggest the possible use of AZD6244, already in human clinical trials as an anticancer agent, for the treatment of pathological pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-236
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience
Volume206
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 29 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • AZD6244
  • Drug therapy
  • MEK inhibitor
  • NGF-BDNF signaling
  • Neuropathic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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