Background: Neuropathic pain is characterized by hyperalgesia, allodynia and spontaneous pain. It often occurs as a result of injury to peripheral nerves, dorsal root ganglions (DRG), spinal cord, or brain. Recent studies have suggested that Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) might play a role in neuropathic pain.
Methodology/principal findings: In this study, we investigated the role of TLR4 in a rat chronic constriction injury (CCI) model and explored the feasibility of treating neuropathic pain by inhibiting TLR4. Our results demonstrated that intrathecal siRNA-mediated suppression of TLR4 attenuated CCI-induced mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia through inhibiting the activation of NF-kappaB p65 and production of proinflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta).
Conclusions/significance: These findings suggest that suppression of TLR4 mediated by intrathecally administered siRNA may be a new strategy for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
Keywords: IL-1β; NF-κB; RNA interference; TNF-α.; Toll-like receptor 4; neuropathic pain.