Tumor necrosis factor-alpha induces long-term potentiation of C-fiber evoked field potentials in spinal dorsal horn in rats with nerve injury: the role of NF-kappa B, JNK and p38 MAPK

Yan-Ling Liu, Li-Jun Zhou, Neng-Wei Hu, Ji-Tian Xu, Chang-You Wu, Tong Zhang, Yong-Yong Li, Xian-Guo Liu
Neuropharmacology 2007, 52 (3): 708-15
Compelling evidence has shown that in hippocampus tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) at pathological concentration inhibits long-term potentiation (LTP), a synaptic model of learning and memory. In the present work we investigated the role of TNF-alpha in LTP of C-fiber evoked field potentials in spinal dorsal horn, which is relevant to pathological pain. We showed that spinal application of TNF-alpha affected neither basal synaptic transmission mediated by C-fibers nor spinal LTP of C-fiber evoked field potentials induced by tetanic stimulation in intact rats. However, in rats with neuropathic pain, produced by either lumbar 5 ventral root transection (L5 VRT) or spared nerve injury (SNI), spinal application of TNF-alpha induced LTP of C-fiber evoked field potentials. Spinal application of JNK inhibitor (SP600125) or p38 MAPK inhibitor (SB203580) did not affect the spinal LTP induced by tetanic stimulation in intact rats, but completely blocked LTP induced by TNF-alpha in L5 VRT rats. NF-kappa B (NF-kappaB) inhibitor (PDTC) also blocked LTP induced by TNF-alpha. These results suggest that TNF-alpha and its downstream molecules may have no acute effect on spinal synaptic transmission in intact animals and induce LTP in rats with neuropathic pain produced by nerve injury.

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