Toll-like receptor 2/MyD88 signaling mediates zymosan-induced joint hypernociception in mice: participation of TNF-α, IL-1β and CXCL1/KC

Eur J Pharmacol. 2012 Jan 5;674(1):51-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.10.023. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


Arthritic pain is a serious health problem that affects a large number of patients. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) activation within the joints has been implicated in pathophysiology of arthritis. However, their role in the genesis of arthritic pain needs to be demonstrated. In the present study, it was addressed the participation of TLR2 and TLR4 and their adaptor molecule MyD88 in the genesis of joint hypernociception (a decrease in the nociceptive threshold) during zymosan-induced arthritis. Zymosan injected in the tibio-tarsal joint induced mechanical hypernociception in C57BL/6 wild type mice that was reduced in TLR2 and MyD88 null mice. On the other hand, zymosan-induced hypernociception was similar in C3H/HePas and C3H/HeJ mice (TLR4 mutant mice). Zymosan-induced joint hypernociception was also reduced in TNFR1 null mice and in mice treated with IL-1 receptor antagonist or with an antagonist of CXCR1/2. Moreover, the joint production of TNF-α, IL-1β and CXCL1/KC by zymosan was dependent on TLR2/MyD88 signaling. Investigating the mechanisms by which TNF-α, IL-1β and CXCL1/KC mediate joint hypernociception, joint administration of these cytokines produced mechanical hypernociception, and they act in an interdependent manner. In last instance, their hypernociceptive effects were dependent on the production of hypernociceptive mediators, prostaglandins and sympathetic amines. These results indicate that in zymosan-induced experimental arthritis, TLR2/MyD88 is involved in the cascade of events of joint hypernociception through a mechanism dependent on cytokines and chemokines production. Thus, TLR2/MyD88 signaling might be a target for the development of novel drugs to control pain in arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokine CXCL1 / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Joints / drug effects
  • Joints / metabolism*
  • Joints / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / metabolism*
  • Nociception / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Zymosan / pharmacology*


  • Chemokine CXCL1
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • Tlr4 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Zymosan