Highly selective microglial uptake of ceria–zirconia nanoparticles for enhanced analgesic treatment of neuropathic pain†
Neuropathic pain is a chronic and pathological pain caused by injury or dysfunction in the nervous system. Pro-inflammatory microglial activation with aberrant reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the spinal cord plays a critical role in the development of neuropathic pain. However, the efficacy of current therapeutic methods for neuropathic pain is limited because only neurons or neural circuits involved in pain transmission are targeted. Here, an effective strategy to treat pain hypersensitivity using microglia-targeting ceria–zirconia nanoparticles (CZ NPs) is reported. The CZ NPs are coated with microglia-specific antibodies to promote their delivery to microglia, and thus to improve their therapeutic efficacy. The targeted delivery facilitates the elimination of both pro-inflammatory cytokines and ROS in microglia, enabling the rapid and effective inhibition of microglial activation. As a result, greatly ameliorated mechanical allodynia is achieved in a spinal nerve transection (SNT)-induced neuropathic pain mouse model, proving the potent analgesic effect of the microglia-targeting CZ NPs. Given the generality of the approach used in this study, the microglia-targeting CZ NPs are expected to be useful for the treatment of not only neuropathic pain but also other neurological diseases associated with the vicious activation of microglia.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles