Background: Previous findings have demonstrated that lumbar radicular pain after disc herniation may be associated with up-regulation of inflammatory mediators. In the present study we examined the possible role of extracellular microRNAs (miRs) in this process. Methods: Single unit recordings, isolation of exosome-like vesicles, electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis, western blot analysis and qPCR were used in rats to demonstrate the effect of nucleus pulposus (NP) applied onto the dorsal nerve roots. ELISA and qPCR were used to measure the level of circulating IL-6 and miRs in a 1-year observational study in patients after disc herniation. Results: In the rats, enhanced spinal cord nociceptive responses were displayed after NP applied onto the dorsal nerve roots. An increased release of small non-coding RNAs, including miR-223, miR-760 and miR-145, from NP in exosome-like vesicles was demonstrated. In particular, the NP expression of miR-223, which inhibited the nociceptive spinal signalling, was increased. In the patients, increased extracellular miR-223 was also verified in the acute phase after disc herniation. The increased miR-223 expression was, however, only observed in those who recovered (sex, age and smoking were included as covariates). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that miR-223, which can be released from the NP after disc...

Moen, Aurora Lie; Jacobsen, Daniel; Phuyal, Santosh; Legfeldt, Anna; Haugen, Fred; Røe, Cecilie; Gjerstad, Johannes
Journal of Translational Medicine 15(89): 1–11
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