This grant proposal seeks to determine the mechanisms underlying the development of neuropathic pain in association with HIV-1 infection and its treatment with Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs). We observed that receptors for CHEMOtactic cytoKINES (chemokines) are expressed by cells in the Dorsal Root Ganglia under different circumstances. Under normal conditions CXCR4, the receptors for the chemokine SDF-1/CXCL12, are expressed by DRG neurons and glia. SDF-1 is also constitutively expressed. Other types of chemokines and their receptors are not normally expressed by these cells. We observed that in several rodent models of neuropathic pain the expression of certain chemokines such as MCP- 1/CCL2 and their receptors such as CCR2, is greatly increased by DRG neurons and glia. Following their upregulation by DRG neurons, chemokines are packaged into synaptic vesicles and can be released from DRG neurons by depolarizing stimuli and from glial cells in a Ca dependent fashion. DRG neurons from animals with neuropathic pain are strongly depolarized by chemokines such as MCP-1. We have observed that treatment of peripheral nerves with the HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 produces increased expression of MCP-1/CCR2 in the DRG in association with neuropathic pain. We also observed that treatment of rodents with NRTIs produces neuropathic pain and that this is associated with upregulation of CXCR4 receptors in DRG neurons and glia. Inhibition of CXCR4 function inhibits NRTI associated pain hypersensitivity. Narrative: In this grant proposal we shall determine- 1) The relative roles of glial and neuronal CXCR4 expression in the development of NRTI induced pain hypersensitivity. 2) The role of CXCR4 receptor upregulation in the DRG in the synergistic effects of NRTIs and HIV-1 infection in producing pain hypersensitivity. 3) The role of chemokines as novel neurotransmitters in the DRG in producing neuropathic pain. The proposed studies will help us to understand how infection with HIV-1 and treatment with anti-HIV-1 drugs produces chronic pain syndromes. The resulting data will suggest novel approaches to the treatment of these disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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NeuroAIDS and other End-Organ Diseases Study Section (NAED)
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Wong, May
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Schools of Medicine
United States
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