Liver X Receptor β Is Involved in Formalin-Induced Spontaneous Pain

Xiaohang Bao, Yulong Cai, Ying Wang, Jinghui Zhao, Xie He, Dan Yu, Jing Huang, Sheng Jing, Zhiyong du, Tiande Yang, Margaret Warner, Jan Ake Gustafsson, Xiaotang Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Increasing evidence indicates that the liver X receptor(LXR) β modulates inflammatory pain. However, the molecular mechanisms through which LXRβ modulates pain are unclear. Here, we found that LXRβ-null mice responded more strongly to acute noxious stimuli than wild-type (WT) littermates (in the hot plate and Hargreaves tests) and had augmented tonic inflammatory pain (in the formalin test). This increased reactivity to inflammatory pain was accompanied by enhanced formalin-evoked Fos and pERK staining of second-order nociceptive neurons. Immunohistochemistry showed that the expression of CGRP, SP, and IB4 was increased in the lamina I–II of the lumbar dorsal horns in formalin-injected LXRβ knockout (KO) mice compared with the WT controls. In addition, LXRβ deletion in the mice enhanced the formalin-induced inflammation with more activated microglia and astrocytes in the spinal cord. Furthermore, the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β ,TNF-α) as well as NFκB in the formalin-injected paw were elevated by the loss of LXRβ. Taken together, these data indicate that LXRβ is involved in acute as well as inflammatory pain, and thus, it may be considered as a new target for the development of analgesics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1481
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Fos
  • LXRβ
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord
  • pERK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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