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Open AccessArticle

The Stage-Specific Plasticity of Descending Modulatory Controls in a Rodent Model of Cancer-Induced Bone Pain

1
Central Modulation of Pain Group, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King’s College London, London SE1 1UL, UK
2
Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3286; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113286
Received: 29 September 2020 / Revised: 25 October 2020 / Accepted: 3 November 2020 / Published: 6 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Metastasis: Its Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms)
The mechanisms that underlie pain resulting from metastatic bone disease remain elusive. This translates to a clinical and socioeconomic burden—targeted therapy is not possible, and patients do not receive adequate analgesic relief. The heterogeneous nature of metastatic bone disease complicates matters. Early stage cancers are molecularly very different to their late stage counterparts and so is the pain associated with early stage and advanced tumours. Thus, analgesic approaches should differ according to disease stage. In this article, we demonstrate that a unique form of brain inhibitory control responsible for the modulation of incoming pain signals at the level of the spinal cord changes with the progression of bone tumours. This corresponds with the degree of damage to the primary afferents innervating the cancerous tissue. Plasticity in the modulation of spinal neuronal activity by descending control pathways reveals a novel opportunity for targeting bone cancer pain in a stage-specific manner.
Pain resulting from metastatic bone disease is a major unmet clinical need. Studying spinal processing in rodent models of cancer pain is desirable since the percept of pain is influenced in part by modulation at the level of the transmission system in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Here, a rodent model of cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) was generated following syngeneic rat mammary gland adenocarcinoma cell injection in the tibia of male Sprague Dawley rats. Disease progression was classified as “early” or “late” stage according to bone destruction. Even though wakeful CIBP rats showed progressive mechanical hypersensitivity, subsequent in vivo electrophysiological measurement of mechanically evoked deep dorsal horn spinal neuronal responses revealed no change. Rather, a dynamic reorganization of spinal neuronal modulation by descending controls was observed, and this was maladaptive only in the early stage of CIBP. Interestingly, this latter observation corresponded with the degree of damage to the primary afferents innervating the cancerous tissue. Plasticity in the modulation of spinal neuronal activity by descending control pathways reveals a novel opportunity for targeting CIBP in a stage-specific manner. Finally, the data herein have translational potential since the descending control pathways measured are present also in humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP); diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNIC); wide dynamic range neurons; neuronal damage; tibial afferents; in vivo electrophysiology; mechanical hypersensitivity cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP); diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNIC); wide dynamic range neurons; neuronal damage; tibial afferents; in vivo electrophysiology; mechanical hypersensitivity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kucharczyk, M.W.; Derrien, D.; Dickenson, A.H.; Bannister, K. The Stage-Specific Plasticity of Descending Modulatory Controls in a Rodent Model of Cancer-Induced Bone Pain. Cancers 2020, 12, 3286. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113286

AMA Style

Kucharczyk MW, Derrien D, Dickenson AH, Bannister K. The Stage-Specific Plasticity of Descending Modulatory Controls in a Rodent Model of Cancer-Induced Bone Pain. Cancers. 2020; 12(11):3286. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113286

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kucharczyk, Mateusz W.; Derrien, Diane; Dickenson, Anthony H.; Bannister, Kirsty. 2020. "The Stage-Specific Plasticity of Descending Modulatory Controls in a Rodent Model of Cancer-Induced Bone Pain" Cancers 12, no. 11: 3286. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113286

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