Phosphorylated CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β Contributes to rat HIV-related neuropathic pain: In vitro and in vivo studies

Hyun Yi, Shue Liu, Yuta Kashiwagi, Daigo Ikegami, Wan Huang, Hirotsugu Kanda, Takafumi Iida, Ching Hang Liu, Keiya Takahashi, David Lubarsky, Shuanglin Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Chronic pain is increasingly recognized as an important comorbidity of HIV-infected patients, however, the exact molecular mechanisms of HIV-related pain are still elusive. CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins (C/EBPs) are expressed in various tissues, including the CNS. C/EBPβ, one of the C/EBPs, is involved in the progression of HIV/AIDS, but the exact role of C/EBPβ and its upstream factors are not clear in HIV pain state. Here, we used a neuropathic pain model of perineural HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120 application onto the rat sciatic nerve to test the role of phosphorylated C/EBPβ (pC/EBPβ) and its upstream pathway in the spinal cord dorsal horn (SCDH). HIV gp120 induced overexpression of pC/EBPβ in the ipsilateral SCDH compared with contralateral SCDH. Inhibition of C/EBPβ using siRNA against C/EBPβ reduced mechanical allodynia. HIV gp120 also increased TNFα, TNFRI, mitochondrial superoxide (mtO2.-), and pCREB in the ipsilateral SCDH. ChIP-qPCR assay showed that pCREB enrichment on the C/EBPβ gene promoter regions in rats with gp120 was higher than that in sham rats. Intrathecal TNF soluble receptor I (functionally blocking TNFα bioactivity) or knockdown of TNFRI using antisense oligodeoxynucleotide against TNFRI reduced mechanical allodynia, and decreased mtO.-2, pCREB and pC/EBPβ. Intrathecal Mito-tempol (amitochondria-targetedO2.-scavenger) reduced mechanical allodynia and decreased pCREB and pC/EBPβ. Knock down of CREB with antisense oligodeoxynucleotide against CREB reduced mechanical allodynia and lowered pC/EBPβ. These results suggested that the pathway of TNFα/TNFRI–mtO.-2 –pCREB triggers pC/EBPβ in the HIV gp120-induced neuropathic pain state. Furthermore, we confirmed the pathway using both cultured neurons treated with recombinant TNFαin vitro and repeated intrathecal injection of recombinant TNFαin naive rats. This finding provides new insights in the understanding of the HIV neuropathic pain mechanisms and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-574
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 17 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Epigenetics
  • HIV pain
  • Mitochondrial superoxide
  • pC/EBPβ
  • pCREB
  • TNFα

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphorylated CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β Contributes to rat HIV-related neuropathic pain: In vitro and in vivo studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this