Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in the spinal cord contributes to neuropathic pain in a rat model of mononeuropathy


Dr Koichi Noguchi, as above.


Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is known to subserve activity-dependent neuronal plasticity in the central nervous system. To examine in vivo the implication of spinal CaMKII activity in the generation and development of neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury, we used an animal model of mononeuropathy, the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model, in the rat. We found that, 3 days after CCI, the total CaMKII (tCaMKII) immunoreactivity increased in the superficial laminae of the spinal cord and this increase continued for up to 14 days. The immunoreactivity of phosphorylated CaMKII showed an increase from 1 day after CCI, which preceded the up-regulation of tCaMKII. A non-selective N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist, MK801, significantly attenuated the increase of tCaMKII and phosphorylated CaMKII. Moreover, intrathecal administration of an inhibitor of CaMKII, KN93, before the CCI surgery attenuated the development of thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. In addition, KN93 significantly reduced the nociceptive behavior in phase II of the formalin test. These findings demonstrate that the activity of CaMKII in spinal neurons is elevated after peripheral nerve injury and may be involved in central sensitization. The alteration of CaMKII is considered to be a neuroplastic change that occurs in spinal neurons that contributes to neuropathic pain, suggesting the potential for the development of novel therapeutics for neuropathic pain that target CaMKII.