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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Feb 2019 - 1 Mar 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Jul




Nitric oxide as a messenger between neurons and satellite glial cells in dorsal root ganglia.


Abnormal neuronal activity in sensory ganglia contributes to chronic pain. There is evidence that signals can spread between cells in these ganglia, which may contribute to this activity. Satellite glial cells (SGCs) in sensory ganglia undergo activation following peripheral injury and participate in cellular communication via gap junctions and chemical signaling. Nitric oxide (NO) is released from neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and induces cyclic GMP (cGMP) production in SCGs, but its role in SGC activation and neuronal excitability has not been explored. It was previously reported that induction of intestinal inflammation with dinitrobenzoate sulfonate (DNBS) increased gap junctional communications among SGCs, which contributed to neuronal excitability and pain. Here we show that DNBS induced SGC activation in mouse DRG, as assayed by glial fibrillary acidic protein upregulation. DNBS also upregulated cGMP level in SGCs, consistent with NO production. In vitro studies on intact ganglia from DNBS-treated mice showed that blocking NO synthesis inhibited both SGCs activation and cGMP upregulation, indicating an ongoing NO production. Application of NO donor in vitro induced SGC activation, augmented gap junctional communications, and raised neuronal excitability, as assessed by electrical recordings. The cGMP analog 8-Br-cGMP mimicked these actions, confirming the role of the NO-cGMP pathway in intraganglionic communications. NO also augmented Ca waves propagation in DRG cultures. It is proposed that NO synthesis in DRG neurons increases after peripheral inflammation and that NO induces SGC activation, which in turn contributes to neuronal hyperexcitability. Thus, NO plays a major role in neuron-SGC communication.