High-frequency spinal cord stimulation produces long-lasting analgesic effects by restoring lysosomal function and autophagic flux in the spinal dorsal horn.
Wang ZB, Liu YD, Wang S, Zhao P.
Neural regeneration research. 2022; 17(2): 370-377

Abstract

High-frequency spinal cord stimulation (HF-SCS) has been established as an effective therapy for neuropathic pain. However, the analgesic mechanisms involved in HF-SCS remain to be clarified. In our study, adult rat neuropathic pain was induced by spinal nerve ligation. Two days after modeling, the rats were subjected to 4 hours of HF-SCS (motor threshold 50%, frequency 10,000 Hz, and pulse width 0.024 ms) in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. The results revealed that the tactile allodynia of spinal nerve-injured rats was markedly alleviated by HF-SCS, and the effects were sustained for 3 hours after the stimulation had ceased. HF-SCS restored lysosomal function, increased the levels of lysosome-associated membrane protein 2 (LAMP2) and the mature form of cathepsin D (matu-CTSD), and alleviated the abnormally elevated levels of microtubule-associated protein 1A/B-light chain 3 (LC3)-II and sequestosome 1 (P62) in spinal nerve-injured rats. HF-SCS also mostly restored the immunoreactivity of LAMP2, which was localized in neurons in the superficial layers of the spinal dorsal horn in spinal nerve-injured rats. In addition, intraperitoneal administration of 15 mg/kg chloroquine for 60 minutes reversed the expression of the aforementioned proteins and shortened the timing of the analgesic effects of HF-SCS. These findings suggest that HF-SCS may exhibit long-lasting analgesic effects on neuropathic pain in rats through improving lysosomal dysfunction and alleviating autophagic flux. This study was approved by the Laboratory Animal Ethics Committee of China Medical University, Shenyang, China (approval No. 2017PS196K) on March 1, 2017.



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