Neuropathic pain is a major symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS) with up to 92% of patients reporting bodily pain, and 85% reporting pain severe enough to cause functional disability. None of the available therapeutics target MS pain. Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2/TLR4) have emerged as targets for treating a wide array of autoimmune disorders, including MS, as well as having demonstrated success at suppressing pain in diverse animal models. The current series of studies tested systemic TLR2/TLR4 antagonists in males and females in a low-dose Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model, with reduced motor dysfunction to allow unconfounded testing of allodynia through 50+ days post-MOG. The data demonstrated that blocking TLR2/TLR4 suppressed EAE-related pain, equally in males and females; upregulation of dorsal spinal cord proinflammatory gene expression for TLR2, TLR4, NLRP3, interleukin-1β, IkBα, TNF-α and interleukin-17; and upregulation of dorsal spinal cord expression of glial immunoreactivity markers. In support of these results, intrathecal interleukin-1 receptor antagonist reversed EAE-induced allodynia, both early and late after EAE induction. In contrast, blocking TLR2/TLR4 did not suppress EAE-induced motor disturbances induced by a higher MOG dose. These data suggest that blocking TLR2/TLR4 prevents the production of proinflammatory factors involved in low dose EAE pathology. Moreover, in this EAE model, TLR2/TLR4 antagonists were highly effective in reducing pain, whereas motor impairment, as seen in high dose MOG EAE, is not affected.
- C57Bl6/J mice
- Dark Agouti rats
- Motor disturbances
- Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)
- Sex differences