Change in MicroRNAs Associated with Neuronal Adaptive Responses in the Nucleus Accumbens under Neuropathic Pain
Journal of Neuroscience
Neuropathic pain is the most difficult type of pain to control, and patients lose their motivation for the purposive pursuit with a decrease in their quality of life. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis, we demonstrated that blood oxygenation level-dependent signal intensity was increased in the ipsilateral nucleus accumbens (N.Acc.) following peripheral nerve injury. microRNAs are small, noncoding RNA molecules that direct the post-transcriptional suppression of gene
... ion of gene expression, and play an important role in regulating synaptic plasticity. In this study, we found that sciatic nerve ligation induced a drastic decrease in the expression of miR200b and miR429 in N.Acc. neurons. The expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a (DNMT3a), which is the one of the predicted targets of miR200b/429, was significantly increased in the limbic forebrain including N.Acc. at 7 d after sciatic nerve ligation. Double-immunolabeling with antibodies specific to DNMT3a and NR1 showed that DNMT3a-immunoreactivity in the N.Acc. was located in NR1-labeled neurons, indicating that increased DNMT3a proteins were dominantly expressed in postsynaptic neurons in the N.Acc. area under a neuropathic pain-like state. The results of these analyses provide new insight into an epigenetic modification that is accompanied by a dramatic decrease in miR200b and miR429 along with the dysfunction of "mesolimbic motivation/valuation circuitry" under a neuropathic pain-like state. These phenomena may result in an increase in DNMT3a in neurons of the N.Acc. under neuropathic pain, which leads to the long-term transcription-silencing of several genes.