TNF-α/STAT3 pathway epigenetically upregulates Nav1.6 expression in DRG and contributes to neuropathic pain induced by L5-VRT
Journal of Neuroinflammation
Studies showed that upregulation of Nav1.6 increased the neuronal excitability and participated in neuropathic pain in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying Nav1.6 upregulation were not reported yet. Methods: The paw withdrawal threshold was measured in the rodents following lumbar 5 ventral root transection (L5-VRT). Then qPCR, western blotting, immunoprecipitation, immunohistochemistry, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were performed to explore
... e molecular mechanisms in vivo and in vitro. Results: We found that the levels of Nav1.6 and phosphorylated STAT3 were significantly increased in DRG neurons following L5-VRT, and TNF-α incubation also upregulated the Nav1.6 expression in cultured DRG neurons. Furthermore, immunoprecipitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that L5-VRT increased the binding of STAT3 to the Scn8a (encoding Nav1.6) promoter and the interaction between STAT3 and p300, which contributed to the enhanced transcription of Scn8a by increasing histone H4 acetylation in Scn8a promoter in DRG. Importantly, intraperitoneal injection of the TNF-α inhibitor thalidomide reduced the phosphorylation of STAT3 and decreased the recruitment of STAT3 and histone H4 hyperacetylation in the Scn8a promoter, thus subsequently attenuating Nav1.6 upregulation in DRG neurons and mechanical allodynia induced by L5-VRT. Conclusion: These results suggested a new mechanism for Nav1.6 upregulation involving TNF-α/STAT3 pathway activation and subsequent STAT3-mediated histone H4 hyperacetylation in the Scn8a promoter region in DRG, which contributed to L5-VRT-induced neuropathic pain.