Background and Purpose Chemokines are involved in neuroinflammation and contribute to chronic pain processing. The new chemokine prokineticin 2 (PROK2) and its receptors (PKR1 and PKR2) have a role in inflammatory pain and immunomodulation. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of PROK2 and its receptors in neuropathic pain.
Experimental Approach Effects of single, intrathecal, perineural and s.c. injections of the PKR antagonist PC1, or of 1 week s.c. treatment, on thermal hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia was evaluated in mice with chronic constriction of the sciatic nerve (CCI). Expression and localization of PROK2 and of its receptors at peripheral and central level was evaluated 10 days after CCI, following treatment for 1 week with saline or PC1. IL-1â and IL-10 levels, along with glia activation, were evaluated.
Key Results Subcutaneous, intrathecal and perineural PC1 acutely abolished the CCI-induced hyperalgesia and allodynia. At 10 days after CCI, PROK2 and its receptor PKR2 were up-regulated in nociceptors, in Schwann cells and in activated astrocytes of the spinal cord. Therapeutic treatment with PC1 (s.c., 1 week) alleviated established thermal hyperalgesia and allodynia, reduced the injury-induced overexpression of PROK2, significantly blunted nerve injury-induced microgliosis and astrocyte activation in the spinal cord and restored the physiological levels of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in periphery and in spinal cord.
Conclusion and Implications The prokineticin system contributes to pain modulation via neuronglia interaction. Sustained inhibition of the prokineticin system, at peripheral or central levels, blocked both pain symptoms and some events underlying disease progression.
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