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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Mar;66(3):637-46. doi: 10.1002/art.38279.

In vivo luminescence imaging of NF-κB activity and serum cytokine levels predict pain sensitivities in a rodent model of osteoarthritis.

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  • 1Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.



To investigate the relationship between NF-κB activity, cytokine levels, and pain sensitivities in a rodent model of osteoarthritis (OA).


OA was induced in transgenic NF-κB-luciferase reporter mice via intraarticular injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA). Using luminescence imaging we evaluated the temporal kinetics of NF-κB activity and its relationship to the development of pain sensitivities and serum cytokine levels in this model.


MIA induced a transient increase in joint-related NF-κB activity at early time points (day 3 after injection) and an associated biphasic pain response (mechanical allodynia). NF-κB activity, serum interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-1β, and IL-10 levels accounted for ∼75% of the variability in pain-related mechanical sensitivities in this model. Specifically, NF-κB activity was strongly correlated with mechanical allodynia and serum IL-6 levels in the inflammatory pain phase of this model (day 3), while serum IL-1β was strongly correlated with pain sensitivities in the chronic pain phase of the model (day 28).


Our findings suggest that NF-κB activity, IL-6, and IL-1β may play distinct roles in pain sensitivity development in this model of arthritis and may distinguish the acute pain phase from the chronic pain phase. This study establishes luminescence imaging of NF-κB activity as a novel imaging biomarker of pain sensitivities in this model of OA.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.

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