Fractalkine Signaling in Microglia Contributes to Ectopic Orofacial Pain following Trapezius Muscle Inflammation
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M. Kiyomoto, M. Shinoda, A. Okada-Ogawa, N. Noma, K. Shibuta et al

Departments of Oral Diagnosis and Physiology and Division of Functional Morphology, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo, Japan

The Journal of Neuroscience

Fractalkine (FKN) signaling is involved in mechanical allodynia in the facial skin following trapezius muscle inflammation. Complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) injection into the trapezius muscle produced mechanical allodynia in the ipsilateral facial skin that was not associated with facial skin inflammation and resulted in FKN but not FKN receptor (CX3CR1) expression, and microglial activation was enhanced in trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis (Vc) and upper cervical spinal cord (C1–C2). Intra-cisterna magna anti-CX3CR1 or anti-interleukin (IL)-1β neutralizing antibody administration decreased the enhanced excitability of Vc and C1–C2 neurons in CFA-injected rats, whereas intra-cisterna magna FKN administration induced microglial activation and mechanical allodynia in the facial skin. IL-1β expression and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation were enhanced in activated microglia after CFA injection. The excitability of neurons whose receptive fields was located in the facial skin was significantly enhanced in CFA-injected rats, and the number of cells expressing phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK) following noxious mechanical stimulation of the facial skin was significantly increased in Vc and C1–C2. We also observed mechanical allodynia of the trapezius muscle as well as microglial activation and increased pERK expression in C2–C6 after noxious stimulation of the trapezius muscle in facial skin-inflamed rats. These findings suggest that FKN expression was enhanced in Vc and C1–C2 or C2–C6 following trapezius muscle or facial skin inflammation, microglia are activated via FKN signaling, IL-1β is released from the activated microglia, and the excitability of neurons in Vc and C1–C2 or C2-C6 is enhanced, resulting in the ectopic mechanical allodynia.

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