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Kindlin-1 Regulates Astrocyte Activation and Pain Sensitivity in Rats With Neuropathic Pain
  1. Baisong Zhao, MD,
  2. Yongying Pan, MD,
  3. Haiping Xu, MD and
  4. Xingrong Song, MD
  1. Department of Anesthesiology, Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical University. Guangzhou, China
  1. Address correspondence to: Xingrong Song, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center, No. 9 Jinsui Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhsou, Guangdong 510623, China (e-mail: songxingrong510623{at}


Background and Objectives Astrocyte activation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain, but the involvement of kindlin-1 in astrocyte activation and neuropathic pain has not yet been illustrated. Using a chronic constriction injury (CCI) rat model of neuropathic pain, we investigated the expression levels of kindlin-1 during neuropathic pain and the influences of kindlin-1 on regulating pain sensitivity.

Methods Neuropathic pain was induced in rats by CCI of the sciatic nerve. Rats were randomly assigned to 4 groups: sham operation, CCI, CCI + kindlin-1 short hairpin RNA (shRNA), and CCI + kindlin-1 groups. Animals in the CCI + kindling-1 shRNA and CCI + kindlin-1 groups were given kindlin-1 shRNA or kindlin-1 virus infection to reduce or overexpress kindlin-1, respectively. Kindlin-1 expression was persistently increased in rats 10 days after CCI. A large proportion of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)–positive astrocytes expressed kindlin-1 in spinal cord tissues of rats after CCI.

Results Compared with the sham operation group, CCI animals exhibited increased GFAP expression and GFAP-positive astrocytes in the spinal cord. Down-regulation of kindlin-1 reduced the up-regulation of GFAP in the spinal cord, whereas overexpression of kindlin-1 promoted elevation of GFAP levels. Kindlin-1 silencing elevated the mechanical and thermal pain thresholds of CCI rats (P < 0.05). However, overexpression of kindlin-1 aggravated CCI-induced pain sensitivity.

Conclusions Kindlin-1 may regulate pain sensitivity by affecting activated astrocytes in the spinal cord. Inhibition of kindlin-1 may provide a novel paradigm for the management of neuropathic pain.

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  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    This project was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 81701109 and 81671116) and the Guangzhou Institute of Pediatrics/Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center (grant YIP-2016-006).

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