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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Feb 2019 - 1 Mar 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Feb 28

Sci Rep



Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels shape electrical firing in mouse Lamina II neurons.


Candelas M, Reynders A, Arango-Lievano M, Neumayer C, Fruquière A, Demes E, Hamid J, Lemmers C, Bernat C, Monteil A, Compan V, Laffray S, Inquimbert P, Le Feuvre Y, Zamponi GW, Moqrich A, Bourinet E, Méry P-F
Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 28; 9(1):3112.
PMID: 30816223.


The T-type calcium channel, Cav3.2, is necessary for acute pain perception, as well as mechanical and cold allodynia in mice. Being found throughout sensory pathways, from excitatory primary afferent neurons up to pain matrix structures, it is a promising target for analgesics. In our study, Cav3.2 was detected in ~60% of the lamina II (LII) neurons of the spinal cord, a site for integration of sensory processing. It was co-expressed with Tlx3 and Pax2, markers of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons, as well as nNOS, calretinin, calbindin, PKCγ and not parvalbumin. Non-selective T-type channel blockers slowed the inhibitory but not the excitatory transmission in LII neurons. Furthermore, T-type channel blockers modified the intrinsic properties of LII neurons, abolishing low-threshold activated currents, rebound depolarizations, and blunting excitability. The recording of Cav3.2-positive LII neurons, after intraspinal injection of AAV-DJ-Cav3.2-mcherry, showed that their intrinsic properties resembled those of the global population. However, Cav3.2 ablation in the dorsal horn of Cav3.2 KI mice after intraspinal injection of AAV-DJ-Cav3.2-Cre-IRES-mcherry, had drastic effects. Indeed, it (1) blunted the likelihood of transient firing patterns; (2) blunted the likelihood and the amplitude of rebound depolarizations, (3) eliminated action potential pairing, and (4) remodeled the kinetics of the action potentials. In contrast, the properties of Cav3.2-positive neurons were only marginally modified in Cav3.1 knockout mice. Overall, in addition to their previously established roles in the superficial spinal cord and in primary afferent neurons, Cav3.2 channel appear to be necessary for specific, significant and multiple controls of LII neuron excitability.