Background: Lumbar disc herniation is a major cause of radicular pain, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Spinal activation of src-family kinases are involved in the development of chronic pain from nerve injury, inflammation, and cancer. In the present study, the role of src-family kinases activation in lumbar disc herniation-induced radicular pain was investigated.
Results: Lumbar disc herniation was induced by implantation of autologous nucleus pulposus, harvest from tail, in lumbar 4/5 spinal nerve roots of rat. Behavior test and electrophysiologic data showed that nucleus pulposus implantation induced persistent mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia and increased efficiency of synaptic transmission in spinal dorsal horn which underlies central sensitization of pain sensation. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry staining revealed that the expression of phosphorylated src-family kinases was upregulated mainly in spinal microglia of rats with nucleus pulposus. Intrathecal delivery of src-family kinases inhibitor PP2 alleviated pain behaviors, decreased efficiency of spinal synaptic transmission, and reduced phosphorylated src-family kinases expression. Furthermore, we found that the expression of ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (marker of microglia), tumor necrosis factor-, interleukin 1-beta in spinal dorsal horn was increased in rats with nucleus pulposus. Therapeutic effect of PP2 may be related to its capacity in reducing the expression of these factors.
Conclusions: These findings suggested that central sensitization was involved in radicular pain from lumbar disc herniation; src-family kinases-mediated inflammatory response may be responsible for central sensitization and chronic pain after lumbar disc herniation.