Regulatory effects of intermittent noxious stimulation on spinal cord injury-sensitive microRNAs and their presumptive targets following spinal cord contusion. Academic Article uri icon


  • Uncontrollable nociceptive stimulation adversely affects recovery in spinally contused rats. Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in altered microRNA (miRNA) expression both at, and distal to the lesion site. We hypothesized that uncontrollable nociception further influences SCI-sensitive miRNAs and associated gene targets, potentially explaining the progression of maladaptive plasticity. Our data validated previously described sensitivity of miRNAs to SCI alone. Moreover, following SCI, intermittent noxious stimulation decreased expression of miR124 in dorsal spinal cord 24 h after stimulation and increased expression of miR129-2 in dorsal, and miR1 in ventral spinal cord at 7 days. We also found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression was significantly down-regulated 1 day after SCI alone, and significantly more so, after SCI followed by tailshock. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA expression was significantly increased at both 1 and 7 days post-SCI, and significantly more so, 7 days post-SCI with shock. MiR1 expression was positively and significantly correlated with IGF-1, but not BDNF mRNA expression. Further, stepwise linear regression analysis indicated that a significant proportion of the changes in BDNF and IGF-1 mRNA expression were explained by variance in two groups of miRNAs, implying co-regulation. Collectively, these data show that uncontrollable nociception which activates sensorimotor circuits distal to the injury site, influences SCI-miRNAs and target mRNAs within the lesion site. SCI-sensitive miRNAs may well mediate adverse consequences of uncontrolled sensorimotor activation on functional recovery. However, their sensitivity to distal sensory input also implicates these miRNAs as candidate targets for the management of SCI and neuropathic pain.

published proceedings

  • Front Neural Circuits

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Strickland, E. R., Woller, S. A., Garraway, S. M., Hook, M. A., Grau, J. W., & Miranda, R. C.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Strickland, Eric R||Woller, Sarah A||Garraway, Sandra M||Hook, Michelle A||Grau, James W||Miranda, Rajesh C

publication date

  • September 2014