Dysfunction of GABAergic inhibitory controls contributes to the development of neuropathic pain. We examined our hypotheses that (1) chronic constriction injury (CCI)-induced neuropathic pain is associated with increased spinal GABAergic neuron apoptosis, and (2) hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) alleviates CCI-induced neuropathic pain by inhibiting GABAergic neuron apoptosis. Male rats were randomized into 3 groups: CCI, CCI+HBO and the control group (SHAM). Mechanical allodynia was tested daily following CCI procedure. HBO rats were treated at 2.4 atmospheres absolute (ATA) for 60min once per day. The rats were euthanized and the spinal cord harvested on day 8 and 14 post-CCI. Detection of GABAergic cells and apoptosis was performed. The percentages of double positive stained cells (NeuN/GABA), cleaved caspase-3 or Cytochrome C in total GABAergic cells or in total NeuN positive cells were calculated. HBO significantly alleviated mechanical allodynia. CCI-induced neuropathic pain was associated with significantly increased spinal apoptotic GABA-positive neurons. HBO considerably decreased these spinal apoptotic cells. Cytochrome-C-positive neurons and cleaved caspase-3-positive neurons were also significantly higher in CCI rats. HBO significantly decreased these positive cells. Caspase-3 mRNA was also significantly higher in CCI rats. HBO reduced mRNA expression of caspase-3. CCI-induced neuropathic pain was associated with increased apoptotic GABAergic neurons induced by activation of key proteins of mitochondrial apoptotic pathways in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. HBO alleviated CCI-induced neuropathic pain and reduced GABAergic neuron apoptosis. The beneficial effect of HBO may be via its inhibitory role in CCI-induced GABAergic neuron apoptosis by suppressing mitochondrial apoptotic pathways in the spinal cord.
Fu, Li, Thomas, Yang, , , , , (2017). Hyperbaric oxygenation alleviates chronic constriction injury (CCI)-induced neuropathic pain and inhibits GABAergic neuron apoptosis in the spinal cord. Scandinavian journal of pain, 2017 Oct;17():330-338. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28927648