89 research outputs found

    Interplay of BDNF and GDNF in the mature spinal somatosensory system and its potential therapeutic relevance

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    The growth factors BDNF and GDNF are gaining more and more attention as modulators of synaptic transmission in the mature central nervous system (CNS). The two molecules undergo a regulated secretion in neurons and may be anterogradely transported to terminals where they can positively or negatively modulate fast synaptic transmission. There is today a wide consensus on the role of BDNF as a pro-nociceptive modulator, as the neurotrophin has an important part in the initiation and maintenance of inflammatory, chronic, and/or neuropathic pain at the peripheral and central level. At the spinal level, BDNF intervenes in the regulation of chloride equilibrium potential, decreases the excitatory synaptic drive to inhibitory neurons, with complex changes in GABAergic/glycinergic synaptic transmission, and increases excitatory transmission in the superficial dorsal horn. Differently from BDNF, the role of GDNF still remains to be unraveled in full. This review resumes the current literature on the interplay between BDNF and GDNF in the regulation of nociceptive neurotransmission in the superficial dorsal horn of the spinal cord. We will first discuss the circuitries involved in such a regulation, as well as the reciprocal interactions between the two factors in nociceptive pathways. The development of small molecules specifically targeting BDNF, GDNF and/or downstream effectors is opening new perspectives for investigating these neurotrophic factors as modulators of nociceptive transmission and chronic pain. Therefore, we will finally consider the molecules of (potential) pharmacological relevance for tackling normal and pathological pain

    2D vs 3D morphological analysis of dorsal root ganglia in health and painful neuropathy

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    Dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) are clusters of sensory neurons that transmit the sensory information from the periphery to the central nervous system, and satellite glial cells (SGCs), their supporting trophic cells. Sensory neurons are pseudounipolar neurons with a heterogeneous neurochemistry reflecting their functional features. DRGs, not protected by the blood brain barrier, are vulnerable to stress and damage of different origin (i.e., toxic, mechanical, metabolic, genetic) that can involve sensory neurons, SGCs or, considering their intimate intercommunication, both cell populations. DRG damage, primary or secondary to nerve damage, produces a sensory peripheral neuropathy, characterized by neurophysiological abnormalities, numbness, paraesthesia and dysesthesia, tingling and burning sensations and neuropathic pain. DRG stress can be morphologically detected by light and electron microscope analysis with alterations in cell size (swelling/atrophy) and in different sub-cellular compartments (i.e., mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and nucleus) of neurons and/or SGCs. In addition, neurochemical changes can be used to portray abnormalities of neurons and SGC. Conventional immunostaining, i.e., immunohistochemical detection of specific molecules in tissue slices can be employed to detect, localize and quantify particular markers of damage in neurons (i.e., nuclear expression ATF3) or SGCs (i.e., increased expression of GFAP), markers of apoptosis (i.e., caspases), markers of mitochondrial suffering and oxidative stress (i.e., 8-OHdG), markers of tissue inflammation (i.e., CD68 for macrophage infiltration), etc. However classical (2D) methods of immunostaining disrupt the overall organization of the DRG, thus resulting in the loss of some crucial information. Whole-mount (3D) methods have been recently developed to investigate DRG morphology and neurochemistry without tissue slicing, giving the opportunity to study the intimate relationship between SGCs and sensory neurons in health and disease. Here, we aim to compare classical (2D) vs whole-mount (3D) approaches to highlight “pros” and “cons” of the two methodologies when analysing neuropathy-induced alterations in DRGs

    Loss of bhlha9 Impairs Thermotaxis and Formalin-Evoked Pain in a Sexually Dimorphic Manner

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    International audienceC-LTMRs are known to convey affective aspects of touch and to modulate injury-induced pain in humans and mice. However, a role for these neurons in temperature sensation has been suggested, but not fully demonstrated. Here, we report that deletion of C-low-threshold mechanoreceptor (C-LTMR)-expressed bhlha9 causes impaired thermotaxis behavior and exacerbated formalin-evoked pain in male, but not female, mice. Positive modulators of GABAA receptors failed to relieve inflammatory formalin pain and failed to decrease the frequency of spontaneous excitatory post-synaptic currents (sEPSCs) selectively in bhlha9 knockout (KO) males. This could be explained by a drastic change in the GABA content of lamina II inner inhibitory interneurons contacting C-LTMR central terminals. Finally, C-LTMR-specific deep RNA sequencing revealed more genes differentially expressed in male than in female bhlha9 KO C-LTMRs. Our data consolidate the role of C-LTMRs in modulation of formalin pain and provide in vivo evidence of their role in the discriminative aspects of temperature sensation
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