Enhanced function of TRPV1 via up-regulation by insulin-like growth factor-1 in a rat model of bone cancer pain

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Up-regulation of transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily, member 1 (TRPV1) is associated with the development and maintenance of cancer pain. The present study aimed to investigate the electrophysiological function of the up-regulated TRPV1 and the potential regulatory effects of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) on TRPV1 expression in peripheral nerves in a rat model of bone cancer pain.


A bone cancer pain model of rats was established by injecting MRMT-1 (rat mammary gland carcinoma cells) breast cancer cells into the tibia bone cavity. Thermal hyperalgesia was assessed by paw-withdrawal latency to a thermal stimulus, and mechanical allodynia was measured with von Frey monofilaments. TRPV1 and IGF-1 expression were examined with immunohistochemical staining and Western blot. TRPV1 current density of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons was measured with whole-cell patch clamping recording technique.


Rats showed thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia 14–21 days after MRMT-1 inoculation into the tibia bone marrow. TRPV1 protein expression and its current density increased in DRG neurons. At the same time, IGF-1 expression increased in tibia bone cavity, and IGF-1 incubation increased total or membrane TRPV1 protein expression and TRPV1 current in primary cultured DRG neurons. Inhibition of IGF-1 receptors in vivo reversed mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in rats with bone cancer pain.


Our results provide novel evidence for the increase of IGF-1 in tibia bone marrow, which is responsible for the up-regulation of TRPV1 expression and function in the peripheral nerves of bone cancer pain rats.

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