The immune system is involved in the development of neuropathic pain. In particular, the infiltration of T-lymphocytes into the spinal cord following peripheral nerve injury has been described as a contributor to sensory hypersensitivity. We used the spared nerve injury (SNI) model of neuropathic pain in Sprague Dawley adult male rats to assess proliferation, and/or protein/gene expression levels for microglia (Iba1), T-lymphocytes (CD2) and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CD8). In the dorsal horn ipsilateral to SNI, Iba1 and BrdU stainings revealed microglial reactivity and proliferation, respectively, with different durations. Iba1 expression peaked at D4 and D7 at the mRNA and protein level, respectively, and was long-lasting. Proliferation occurred almost exclusively in Iba1 positive cells and peaked at D2. Gene expression observation by RT-qPCR array suggested that T-lymphocytes attracting chemokines were upregulated after SNI in rat spinal cord but only a few CD2/CD8 positive cells were found. A pronounced infiltration of CD2/CD8 positive T-cells was seen in the spinal cord injury (SCI) model used as a positive control for lymphocyte infiltration. Under these experimental conditions, we show early and long-lasting microglia reactivity in the spinal cord after SNI, but no lymphocyte infiltration was found.
Gattlen, C., Clarke, C. B., Piller, N., Kirschmann, G., Pertin, M., Decosterd, I., … Suter, M. R. (2016). Spinal cord t-cell infiltration in the rat spared nerve injury model: A time course study. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030352