Perturbing NR2B–PSD-95 interaction relieves neuropathic pain by inactivating CaMKII-CREB signaling

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Neuropathic pain is characterized by central sensitization. The interaction between N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) and postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) plays a major role in central sensitization. Here, we aimed to investigate the analgesic effect of disruption of the interaction between NMDAR and PSD-95. Chronic dorsal root ganglia compression model rats were used to mimic sciatica. Thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia were evaluated. The expression of spinal phospho-NR2B, PSD-95, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), and cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) was measured using western blotting. A mimetic peptide Myr-NR2B9c was injected intrathecally to disrupt the interaction between PSD-95 and NR2B and detected by coimmunoprecipitation. Chronic dorsal root ganglia compression surgery induced thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, and upregulated pain-related proteins such as phospho-NR2B, PSD-95, CaMKII, and CREB expressions in the spinal cord. Myr-NR2B9c disrupted the interaction between NR2B-containing NMDARs and PSD-95 in the spinal cord. Intrathecal administration of Myr-NR2B9c attenuated neuropathic pain behaviors and downregulated the expressions of phospho-NR2B, PSD-95, CaMKII, and CREB in the spinal cord. The present study indicates that dissociation of NR2B-containing NMDARs from PSD-95 inactivates CaMKII and CREB signaling and relieves pain.

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