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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 480702, 14 pages
Research Article

Elevated Expression of Fractalkine (CX3CL1) and Fractalkine Receptor (CX3CR1) in the Dorsal Root Ganglia and Spinal Cord in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis: Implications in Multiple Sclerosis-Induced Neuropathic Pain

1Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Manitoba, Apotex Center 750, McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3E 0T5
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3E 3P5

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 2 July 2013; Accepted 15 July 2013

Academic Editor: Carl Muroi

Copyright © 2013 Wenjun Zhu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a central nervous system (CNS) disease resulting from a targeted autoimmune-mediated attack on myelin proteins in the CNS. The release of Th1 inflammatory mediators in the CNS activates macrophages, antibodies, and microglia resulting in myelin damage and the induction of neuropathic pain (NPP). Molecular signaling through fractalkine (CX3CL1), a nociceptive chemokine, via its receptor (CX3CR1) is thought to be associated with MS-induced NPP. An experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS was utilized to assess time dependent gene and protein expression changes of CX3CL1 and CX3CR1. Results revealed significant increases in mRNA and the protein expression of CX3CL1 and CX3CR1 in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and spinal cord (SC) 12 days after EAE induction compared to controls. This increased expression correlated with behavioural thermal sensory abnormalities consistent with NPP. Furthermore, this increased expression correlated with the peak neurological disability caused by EAE induction. This is the first study to identify CX3CL1 signaling through CX3CR1 via the DRG /SC anatomical connection that represents a critical pathway involved in NPP induction in an EAE model of MS.