Depressive symptoms and other neuropsychiatric dysfunctions are common in neurodegenerative disorders, including chronic pain and dementia. A correlation between the β-amyloid protein accumulation and the development of depression has been suggested, however the underlying mechanisms are unknown. D-Aspartate (D-Asp) is a free D-amino acid found in the mammalian brain and involved in neurological and psychiatric processes, such as cognition and affective disorders. In this study we have investigated the effects of a repeated treatment with D-Asp in a long-lasting (12 months) model of neuropathic pain, the spared nerve injury (SNI), in mice. Specifically, we evaluated i) the pain sensitivity and related emotional/cognitive dysfunctions induced by SNI, ii) possible changes in the β-amyloid protein accumulation in specific brain regions involved in pain mechanisms ii) possible changes in steroids level in neuropathic animals with or without D-Asp in the same brain areas. SNI mice showed an increase of the insoluble form of Aβ1-42 at hippocampal level and displayed cognitive impairments, stereotypical and depressive-like behaviours. D-Asp treatment reduced abnormal behaviours and normalized the β-amyloid protein expression. Moreover, D-Asp dramatically increased steroids level measured in the prefrontal cortex and in the hippocampus. Our findings provide new insights into pain mechanisms and suggest a possible role of β-amyloid protein in neuropsychiatric dysfunctions associated with chronic pain.
- Neuropathic pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas