Spinal high-mobility group box 1 contributes to mechanical allodynia in a rat model of bone cancer pain

Wei Tong, Wei Wang, Jing Huang, Ning Ren, Sheng Xi Wu, Yong Qi Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Mechanisms underlying bone cancer-induced pain are largely unknown. Previous studies indicate that neuroinflammation in the spinal dorsal horn is especially involved. Being first reported as a nonhistone chromosomal protein, high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is now implicated as a mediator of inflammation. We hypothesized that HMGB1 could trigger the release of cytokines in the spinal dorsal horn and contribute to bone cancer pain. To test this hypothesis, we first built a bone cancer pain model induced by intratibal injection of Walker 256 mammary gland carcinoma cells. The structural damage to the tibia was monitored by radiological analysis. The mechanical allodynia was measured and the expression of spinal HMGB1 and IL-1β was evaluated. We observed that inoculation of cancer cells, but not heat-killed cells, induced progressive bone destruction from 9 d to 21 d post inoculation. Behavioral tests demonstrated that the significant nociceptive response in the cancer cells-injected rats emerged on day 9 and this kind of mechanical allodynia lasted at least 21 d following inoculation. Tumor cells inoculation significantly increased HMGB1 expression in the spinal dorsal horn, while intrathecal injecting a neutralizing antibody against HMGB1 showed an effective and reliable anti-allodynia effect with a dose-dependent manner. IL-1β was significantly increased in caner pain rats while intrathecally administration of anti-HMGB1 could decrease IL-1β. Together with previous reports, we predict that bone cancer induces HMGB1 production, enhancing spinal IL-1β expression and thus modulating spinal excitatory synaptic transmission and pain response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-576
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 14 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone cancer pain
  • High-mobility group box 1
  • Rat
  • Spinal cord
  • Toll like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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