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Ephrin-B2 signaling in the spinal cord as a player in post-inflammatory and stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
BACKGROUND: Ephrin-B2/EphB receptor signaling contributes to persistent pain states such as postinflammatory and neuropathic pain. Visceral hypersensitivity (VHS) is a major mechanism underlying abdominal pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in remission, but the underlying pathophysiology remains unclear. Here, we evaluated the spinal ephrin-B2/EphB pathway in VHS in 2 murine models of VHS, that is, postinflammatory TNBS colitis and maternal separation (MS). METHODS: Wild-type (WT) mice and mice lacking ephrin-B2 in Nav 1.8 nociceptive neurons (cKO) were studied. VHS was induced by: 1. intracolonic instillation of TNBS or 2. water avoidance stress (WAS) in mice that underwent maternal separation (MS). VHS was assessed by quantifying the visceromotor response (VMRs) during colorectal distention. Colonic tissue and spinal cord were collected for histology, gene, and protein expression evaluation. KEY RESULTS: In WT mice, but not cKO mice, TNBS induced VHS at day 14 after instillation, which returned to baseline perception from day 28 onwards. In MS WT mice, WAS induced VHS for up to 4 weeks. In cKO however, visceral pain perception returned to basal level by week 4. The development of VHS in WT mice was associated with significant upregulation of spinal ephrin-B2 and EphB1 mRNA expression or protein levels in the TNBS model and upregulation of spinal ephrin-B2 protein in the MS model. No changes were observed in cKO mice. VHS was not associated with persistent intestinal inflammation. CONCLUSIONS AND INFERENCES: Overall, our data indicate that the ephrin-B2/EphB1 spinal signaling pathway is involved in VHS and may represent a novel therapeutic target.
Journal: Neurogastroenterology and Motility