• Plunkett JA, Yu CG, Easton JM, Bethea JR and Yezierski RP (2001). Effects of interleukin-10 (IL-10) on pain behavior and gene expression following excitotoxic spinal cord injury in the rat. Exp Neurol. 168 (1): 144-54. Summary: Intraspinal injection of quisqualic acid (QUIS) produces excitotoxic injury with pathophysiological characteristics similar to those associated with ischemic and traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Responses to QUIS-induced injury include an inflammatory component, as well as the development of spontaneous and evoked pain behaviors. We hypothesized that QUIS-induced inflammation and subsequent gene expression contribute to the development and progression of pain- related behaviors and that blockade of inflammation-related gene expression leads to the amelioration of these behaviors. Using the QUIS model of spinal cord injury, we examined whether interleukin-10 (IL- 10), a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine, is able to reduce mRNA levels of inflammatory and cell death-related genes leading to a reduction of pain behaviors. The results demonstrate that animals receiving systemic injection of IL-10, 30 minutes following QUIS-induced SCI, showed a significant delay in the onset of excessive grooming behavior, a significant reduction in grooming severity, and a significant reduction in the longitudinal extent of a pattern of neuronal loss within the spinal cord characterized as "grooming-type damage." QUIS injections also resulted in an increase in mRNA levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), CD95 ligand (CD95-L, also called FAS-L/APO-1L), and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Results of QUIS injury plus IL-10 treatment resulted in a significant downregulation of IL1-beta and iNOS mRNA and these results were supported by Western blot analysis of protein levels following IL-10 treatment. These data suggest that IL-10 reduces inflammation and that targeting injury-induced inflammation is an effective strategy for limiting the extent of neuronal damage following excitotoxic SCI and thus the onset and progression of injury-induced pain behaviors. Copyright 2001 Academic Press. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&dopt=r&uid=11170729> The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.