Department of Veterinary Physiology, BK21 PLUS Program for Creative Veterinary Science Research, Research Institute for Veterinary Science and College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [Email]
While evidence indicates that sigma-1 receptors (Sig-1Rs) play an important role in the induction of peripheral neuropathic pain, there is limited understanding of the role that the neurosteroidogenic enzymes, which produce Sig-1R endogenous ligands, play during the development of neuropathic pain. We examined whether sciatic nerve injury upregulates the neurosteroidogenic enzymes, cytochrome P450c17 and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), which modulate the expression and/or activation of Sig-1Rs leading to the development of peripheral neuropathic pain. Chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve induced a significant increase in the expression of P450c17, but not 3β-HSD, in the ipsilateral lumbar spinal cord dorsal horn at postoperative day 3. Intrathecal administration of the P450c17 inhibitor, ketoconazole during the induction phase of neuropathic pain (day 0 to day 3 post-surgery) significantly reduced the development of mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in the ipsilateral hind paw. However, administration of the 3β-HSD inhibitor, trilostane had no effect on the development of neuropathic pain. Sciatic nerve injury increased astrocyte Sig-1R expression as well as dissociation of Sig-1Rs from BiP in the spinal cord. These increases were suppressed by administration of ketoconazole, but not by administration of trilostane. Co-administration of the Sig-1R agonist, PRE084 restored the development of mechanical allodynia originally suppressed by the ketoconazole administration. However, ketoconazole-induced inhibition of thermal hyperalgesia was not affected by co-administration of PRE084. Collectively these results demonstrate that early activation of P450c17 modulates the expression and activation of astrocyte Sig-1Rs, ultimately contributing to the development of mechanical allodynia induced by peripheral nerve injury.