Nucleic Acid Aptamer Selection Against Interleukin (IL-1β), Catabolin, to Analyze and Diagnose Chronic Neuropathic Pain Patients

Nucleic Acid Aptamer Selection Against Interleukin (IL-1β) to Analyze and Diagnose Chronic Neuropathic Pain Patients

Gabbe Zuniga
16 October 2012
Abstract –
      The evaluation and treatment of chronic neuropathic pain is controversial.  Doctors continue to question whether the transition from acute to chronic pain is due to pain sensitivity from injury or associative learning from general stress.  It has been proposed that hippocampal-cortical learning processes play an important role in the development and maintenance of chronic neuropathic pain from nerve injury (1).

Abnormal hippocampal function, such as decreased neurogenesis and reduced kinase expression and phosphorylation, due to neuropathic pain has been found to be associated with cytokine gene expression (2).  Interleukin-1β, a proinflammatory cytokine, plays a role in brain function during inflammatory responses by influencing synaptic plasticity and memory processes in the hippocampus (3).  IL-1β is targeted to many different cell types involved in the central nervous system (CNS) in which its role is to initiate activation of inflammatory mediators, such as proinflammatory cytokines and neutrophil-recruiting chemokines, in response to CNS injury (4).  As shown in Figure 1, IL-1β is responsible for multiple complex intracellular signaling pathways that are correlated with impairment of long-term potentiation (LTP), which is responsible for enhancing signal transmission and therefore synaptic strength (5).
Based on IL-1β biological effects, localization and competitive inhibition of IL-1β can prove useful in clinical diagnostic and therapy for chronic pain patients.  The development of high-affinity nucleic acids, also called aptamers, as molecular recognition and binding elements to IL-1β can serve as therapeutic agents.  An aptamer might be able to prevent leukocyte migration and activation of astrocytes as well as microglia, both of which are important components to the brain’s innate immune response.  IL-1β binding studies have shown that the presence of IL-1 receptors (IL-1R) in the brain is highest in the molecular and granular layers of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (3)(6).  In order to reaffirm these results and localize expression, a green fluorescent protein marker bound to the aptamer will allow its progress to be tracked.  Inhibition of the binding mechanism between IL-1β and IL-1R has been shown to decrease the maintenance of LTP by inhibiting adequate Ca2+ influx required to initiate biochemical cascades for LTP and increasing circulating corticosteroids as well as other stress-induced mechanism changes (5)(7).  Ultimately, this will affect learning and memory of pain stimuli, which will allow for a better understanding of the mechanisms of localized and widespread neuropathic pain. 

Specific Aim 1 –
Selection of aptamer against IL-1β.
An aptamer for IL-1β that will inhibit the protein may result in the following changes in the nervous system (i.e., hippocampus).  Inhibition will decrease the maintenance of long-term potentiation, thus, affecting learning and memory of pain stimuli.  This will potentially minimize the psychological stress factor associated with pain and lead to a more accurate diagnosis of patients; and therefore, improve the applied therapeutic treatments.  An aptamer interacting with IL-1β will block activation of other proteins involved in IL-1 signal transduction of the neuroimmune pathway.  The mechanisms by which IL-1β affects the hippocampal LTP are shown in Figure 1.
This function can be applied to further studies evaluating whether the IL-1β and IL-1R polymorphisms are also involved in induced neuropathic pain in the musculoskeletal systems similar to the nervous system (i.e., hippocampus).  If the results (symptoms) of non-neuronal (joints, ligaments, etc.) and neuronal (N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor antagonists, opioid analgesics, and sodium channel blockers) targets after inhibition of IL-1β are similar to the previous studies, then it could be concluded that IL-1β plays an equally important part in chronic pain development in both neuropathic pain and neurodegenerative diseases (7).

Specific Aim 2 –
Develop fluorescent aptamer marker to detect IL-1β localization.
The specific aim is to develop an aptamer against IL-1β that is marked by a green fluorescent protein.  By doing so, the levels of IL-1β can be detected and localized in living cells by fluorescence microscopy.  This information can clarify where the highest density of IL-1β and IL-1R interaction occurs and therefore, locate the major site of the signaling cascade required for a sufficient immune response to chronic neuropathic pain.
            The green fluorescent protein can be tracked in animal models to allow their expression and localization to be examined in real time in living cells (8). The progress of IL-1β after induced nerve injury can be used to either support or reject the idea of using IL-1β as a target for interrupting the pathogenesis of chronic neuropathic pain (9).  If these results indicate that high densities of IL-1β transcription and expression are located in critical areas for learning and memory such as the CA1, CA3, and/or denate gyrus of the hippocampus, then it can be concluded that IL-1β-mediated inflammatory processes in the hippocampus play a role in memory impairment (5).    Figure 1. IL-1β is activated after cleavage by MCP-1 (capase-1).  Inhibition of IL-1β from signaling a series of intracellular signaling cascades will prevent transcription factor activation and gene expression, thus, decreasing the neuroinflammation immune response to the site of injury.  IL-1β also inhibits hippocampal long-term potentiation. By inhibiting IL-1β from binding to its corresponding receptors, IL-1R1 and IL-1R, in the hippocampus, maintenance of long-term potentiation will be improved.
Interleukin-1 beta Human Recombinant Protein can be ordered from Novus Biologicals, LLC online at or by phone at 303.730.1950.  Its catalog number is NBC1-18478.  The protein is purchased at $295 for 0.1 mg (100 μg) at a concentration of 1.0 mg/mL (100 μg/100 μL) with no preservative.  It will cost $10.25 each round of SELEX to use ~200 pmol of target.      

 Figure 1. IL-1β is activated after cleavage by MCP-1 (capase-1).  Inhibition of IL-1β from signaling a series of intracellular signaling cascades will prevent transcription factor activation and gene expression, thus, decreasing the neuroinflammation immune response to the site of injury.  IL-1β also inhibits hippocampal long-term potentiation. By inhibiting IL-1β from binding to its corresponding receptors, IL-1R1 and IL-1R, in the hippocampus, maintenance of long-term potentiation will be improved.  

Product: IL-1β Human Recombinant Protein
Size: 100 μg
Daltons: 17,376 grams/mole
Website: Novus Biologicals (
Catalog #: NBC1-18478
Price: $295
Price per round: $10.25

References –

(1). O’Connor, John, and Andrew Coogan.  “Actions of the Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine IL-1β on Central Synaptic Transmission.”  Experimental Physiology 84 (1999): 601-614. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.

(2). Mutso, Amelia et al.  “Abnormalities in Hippocampal Functioning with Persistent Pain.”  The Journal of Neuroscience. 32.17 (2012): 5747-5756. Web. 4 Sept. 2012. 
(3). Gao, Yong-Jing and Ru-Rong Ji.  “Targeting Astrocyte Signaling for Chronic Pain.” Neurotherapeutics. 7.4 (2010): 482-493. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.

(4).  “Chronic IL-1 beta-induced Neuroinflammation: Is it Really that Bad?” (2012). R&D Systems Inc. Web. 27 Aug. 2012. 

(5). Lynch, M. A. “Long-Term Potentiation and Memory.” American Physiological Society.  (2004): n. pag. Web. 27 Aug. 2012. 

(6). Schneider, H. et al. “A neuromodulatory role of interleukin-1β in the hippocampus.” Proc. National Academic Science USA. 95 (1999): pp. 7778-7783. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.

(7). Shaftel, Solomon et al. “The role of interleukin-1 in neuroinflammation and Alzheimer disease: an evolving perspective.” Journal of Neuroinflammation.  5 (2008):7. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.

(8). Bruges, Jacome Armas et al. Update on Immunogenetics of Spondyloarthritis. New Research on Immunology. Veskler, Barbara A. New York City: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2005. Google eBook. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.

(9). Cibelli et al. “Role of Interleukin-1beta in postoperative cognitive dysfuncton.” Annals of Neurology. 68.3 (2010): 360-368. Web. 27 Aug. 2012. 


Gwen Stovall said...

Dear Gabbe,
Here are some thoughts:
1. Catabolin in the title sounds a bit "clunky". Save that for text.
2. "abnormal hypocampal function" briefly define this is parathesis
3. please rewrite long quote in 2nd paragraph.
4. consider reorganizing a bit to better explain the problem, how IL-1B is implicated in prob, & how you will solve the prob.
5. tell me more what the anti-IL-1B aptamer does upon preventing leukocyte migration...
6. say you want the aptamer to be use as a therapeutic & then explain how. Then, explain that you want the aptamer to be used as a diagnostic ...
7. consider reorging some details to intro (not abstract)
8. ck math again on cost per round.
9. all ordering stuff/numbers seem wrong. fix this.
10. does the protein have an affinity tag?
let's meet again & we'll order next time.

Sajal Shrivastava said...

Its been a long time you posted this article. I would like to know is it possible to find an aptamer for IL-1B? I have searched but couldnt find it anywhere.