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Neuropathic pain-induced depressive-like behavior and hippocampal neurogenesis and plasticity are dependent on TNFR1 signaling

Brain Behavior and Immunity
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2014.04.003
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Tnf
  • Tnfr1
  • Cytokines
  • Neurogenesis
  • Plasticity
  • Myelin
  • Depression
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


Abstract Patients suffering from neuropathic pain have a higher incidence of mood disorders such as depression. Increased expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) has been reported in neuropathic pain and depressive-like conditions and most of the pro-inflammatory effects of TNF are mediated by the TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1). Here we sought to investigate: (1) the occurrence of depressive-like behavior in chronic neuropathic pain and the associated forms of hippocampal plasticity, and (2) the involvement of TNFR1-mediated TNF signaling as a possible regulator of such events. Neuropathic pain was induced by chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve in wild-type and TNFR1−/− mice. Anhedonia, weight loss and physical state were measured as symptoms of depression. Hippocampal neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, myelin remodeling and TNF/TNFRs expression were analyzed by immunohistochemical analysis and western blot assay. We found that neuropathic pain resulted in the development of depressive symptoms in a time dependent manner and was associated with profound hippocampal alterations such as impaired neurogenesis, reduced expression of neuroplasticity markers and myelin proteins. The onset of depressive-like behavior also coincided with increased hippocampal levels of TNF, and decreased expression of TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2), which were all fully restored after mice spontaneously recovered from pain. Notably, TNFR1−/− mice did not develop depressive-like symptoms after injury, nor were there changes in hippocampal neurogenesis and plasticity. Our data show that neuropathic pain induces a cluster of depressive-like symptoms and profound hippocampal plasticity that are dependent on TNF signaling through TNFR1.

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