Impact of Low PD-1 Expression on Chronic Pain-Induced Depression and Anxiety

Programmed Cell Death Protein 1 (PD-1) is primarily recognized for its role in immunomodulation, where it functions as an inhibitory regulator of the immune response. However, recent research has started to examine PD-1’s involvement in neuromodulation. This project explores PD-1’s role within the context of chronic pain-induced anxiety and depression. The chronic pain model was established using a Spared Nerve Injury (SNI) on PD-1 KO and Wild Type (WT) mice, and verified using pain quantification tests. The resulting anxiety and depression were measured using several behavioral tests. The behavioral tests measuring anxiety did not find significant differences between the KO and WT mice at two weeks, which was expected as anxiety-like behaviors often take 6-8 weeks to appear in chronic pain models. We plan on addressing this limitation by performing a long-term version of this study. We did find notable differences in depressive behaviors between the two groups, in which the KO mice displayed lower levels of depression. This suggests that anti-PD-1 treatments may have a protective effect against depression. The preliminary results from this project will provide the basis for a continuation of research, leading to a greater understanding of PD-1’s role in pain-induced anxiety and depression.

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