The expression of NF-κB in the spinal cord is associated with neuropathic pain. However, little is known about its expression beyond the spinal cord. Here we examined a spatial and temporal pattern of the NF-κB expression in both spinal and supraspinal regions. After chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, NF-κB (p65) expression was significantly increased in the ipsilateral spinal cord. In contrast, the NF-κB expression in the contralateral primary somatosensory cortex was decreased with no significant differences seen in the thalamus. In the contralateral anterior cingulate cortex, the NF-κB expression was increased significantly on day 14 as compared with the sham group. In the contralateral amygdala, the NF-κB expression showed a time-dependent downregulation after CCI, which became significant on day 14. MK-801 reduced nociceptive behaviors and reversed the direction of NF-κB expression. These results indicate that the CCI-induced expression of p65 NF-κB is both time-dependent and region-specific, in areas that process both sensory-discriminative and motivational-affective dimensions of pain.
Perspective: This article presents a spatiotemporal mapping of the NF-κB expression in spinal and supraspinal regions after peripheral nerve injury. These findings point to an involvement of NF-κB beyond the spinal cord in both the sensory discriminative and emotional affective aspects of neuropathic pain processing.
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