Diverse transcriptional controls in the dorsal horn have been observed in pain hypersensitivity. However, the understanding of the exact causes and mechanisms of neuropathic pain development is still fragmentary. Here, the results demonstrated nerve injury decreased the expression of spinal hairy and enhancer of split 1 (Hes1), a transcriptional repressor, and enhanced metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5) transcription/expression, which was accompanied with behavioral allodynia. Moreover, nerve injury decreased Hes1 levels and reciprocally increased cyclin dependent kinase-9 (CDK9) levels and recruited CDK9 to phosphorylate RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) in the promoter fragments of mGluR5, thereby enhancing mGluR5 transcription/expression in the dorsal horn. These effects were also induced by intrathecally administering naïve rats with Hes1 small interferingRNA(siRNA). Conversely, Hes1 overexpression using intrathecal lentiviral vectors in nerve injury rats produced reversal of pain behavior and reversed protein expressions, phosphorylation, and coupling to the promoter segments in the dorsal horn. Collectively, the results in this study indicated nerve injury diminishes spinal Hes1-dependent suppression of CDK9-dependent RNAPII phosphorylation on the mGluR5 promoter that possibly enhances mGluR5 transcription/expression for neuropathic pain development.
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