The effect of botulinum neurotoxin A on sciatic nerve injury-induced neuroimmunological changes in rat dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord

J. Mika, E. Rojewska, W. Makuch, M. Korostynski, S. Luvisetto, S. Marinelli, F. Pavone, B. Przewlocka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) acts by cleaving synaptosome-associated-protein-25 (SNAP-25) in nerve terminals to inhibit neuronal release and shows long-lasting antinociceptive action in neuropathic pain. However, its precise mechanism of action remains unclear. Our study aimed to characterize BoNT/A-induced neuroimmunological changes after chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. In the ipsilateral lumbar spinal cords of CCI-exposed rats, the mRNA of microglial marker (complement component 1q, C1q), astroglial marker (glial fibrillary acidic protein, GFAP), and prodynorphin were upregulated, as measured by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). No changes appeared in mRNA for proenkephalin, pronociceptin, or neuronal and inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS1 and NOS2, respectively). In the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), an ipsilateral upregulation of prodynorphin, pronociceptin, C1q, GFAP, NOS1 and NOS2 mRNA and a downregulation of proenkephalin mRNA were observed. A single intraplantar BoNT/A (75 pg/paw) injection induced long-lasting antinociception in this model. BoNT/A diminished the injury-induced ipsilateral spinal upregulation of C1q mRNA. In the ipsilateral DRG a significant decrease of C1q-positive cell activation and of the upregulation of prodynorphin, pronociceptin and NOS1 mRNA was also observed following BoNT/A admistration. BoNT/A also diminished the injury-induced upregulation of SNAP-25 expression in both structures. We provide evidence that BoNT/A impedes injury-activated neuronal function in structures distant from the injection site, which is demonstrated by its influence on NOS1, prodynorphin and pronociceptin mRNA levels in the DRG. Moreover, the silence of microglia/macrophages after BoNT/A administration could be secondary to the inhibition of neuronal activity, but this decrease in neuroimmune interactions could be the key to the long-lasting BoNT/A effect on neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-366
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 17 2011


  • Botulinum neurotoxin A
  • Endogenous opioids
  • Glia
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Prodynophin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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