Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
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Peripheral Nerve Neuropathy is Associated with a Glial Reaction in the Gracile Nucleus Associated with a regulation of the GABA transporter GAT-1
Title of the conference
Annual meeting of the Swiss Society of Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 4-6, 2010
Swiss Medical Weekly
Allodynia (pain in response to normally non painful stimulation) and paresthesia (erroneous sensory experience) are two debilitating symptoms of neuropathic pain. These stem, at least partly, from profound changes in the non-nociceptive sensory pathway that comprises large myelinated neuronal afferents terminating in the gracile and cuneate nuclei. Further than neuronal changes, well admitted evidence indicates that glial cells (especially in the spinal cord) are key actors in neuropathic pain, in particular the possible alteration in astrocytic capacity to reuptake neurotransmitters (glutamate and GABA). Yet, the possibility of such a changed astrocytic scavenging capacity remains unexplored in the dorsal column pathway. The present study was therefore undertaken to assess whether peripheral nerve injury (spared nerve injury model, SNI) could trigger a glial reaction, and especially changes in glutamate and GABA transporters, in the gracile nucleus. SNI surgery was performed on male Sprague-Dawley rats. Seven days after surgery, rats were used for immunofluorescence (fixation and brain slicing), western-blot (fresh brain freezing and protein extraction) or GABA reuptake on synaptosomes. We found that SNI results in a profound glial reaction in the ipsilateral gracile nucleus. This reaction was characterized by an enhanced immunolabelling for microglial marker Iba1 as well as astrocytic protein GFAP (further confirmed by western-blot, p <0.05, n = 7). These changes were not observed in sham animals. Immunofluorescence and western-blot analysis shows that the GABA transporter GAT-1 is upregulated in the ipsilateral gracile nucleus (p <0.001; n = 7), with no detectable change in GAT-3 or glutamate transporters EAAT-1 and EAAT-2. Double immunoflurescence shows that GAT-1 and GFAP colocalize within the same cells. Furthermore, the upregulation of GFAP and GAT-1 were shown to occur all along the rostrocaudal axis of the gracile nucleus. Finally, synaptosomes from ipsilateral gracile nucleus show an increased capacity to reuptake GABA. Together, the data presented herein show that glial cells in the gracile nucleus react to neuropathic lesion, in particular through an upregulation of the GABA transporter GAT-1. Hence, this study points to role of an increased GABA transport in the dorsal column nuclei in neuropathic pain, calling attention to GAT-1 as a putative future pharmacological target to treat allodynia and paresthesia.
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