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Down-Regulation of miRNA-128 Contributes to Neuropathic Pain Following Spinal Cord Injury via Activation of P38

Zhaoyun Yang, Junmei Xu, Rong Zhu, Lei Liu

(Department of Anesthesiology, The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:405-411

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.898788

Published: 2017-01-23

BACKGROUND: Neuropathic pain (NPP) arises from a lesion or dysfunction of the somatosensory nervous system. Recent studies have demonstrated multiple microRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in NPP development. This study aimed to investigate the effects of miR-128 on microglial cells.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We established a compressive spinal cord injury (SCI) model and collected the spinal cord segment-derived conditioned medium (CM). We then measured the expression of miR-128 in the murine microglial cell line BV2 treated with CM-SCI or CM obtained from control (CM-NC). Furthermore, lentivirus production of miR-128 and scrambled control were transfected into BV2 cells, which were first treated with CM-SCI or CM-NC. Moreover, the effects of miR-128 on cell viability, M1/M2 microglial gene expression, inflammatory cytokines concentration, and the protein expression of P38 and phosphorylated P38 (P-P38) were investigated.
RESULTS: The expression of miR-128 was downregulated in murine microglial BV2 cells treated with CM-SCI. Overexpression of miR-128 markedly promoted the viability of murine microglial cells. In addition, miR-128 overexpression significantly decreased the expression levels of microglial M1 phenotypic markers CD86 and CD32, and increased the expression levels of M2 phenotypic markers Arg1 and CD206. Furthermore, miR-128 overexpression obviously decreased the concentration of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6. We found that miR-128 overexpression significantly downregulated the expression levels of P38 andP-P38.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that down-regulation of miR-128 in murine microglial cells may contribute to the development of NPP following SCI via activation of P38. MiR-128 may be a potential intervention target for NPP.

Keywords: Gene Expression, MicroRNAs, Neuralgia, p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases