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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Apr 2019 - 26 Apr 2019

2019 Aug

Exp Neurol


Probing the coding logic of thermosensation using spinal cord calcium imaging.



The spinal cord dorsal horn is the first relay station of the neural network for processing somatosensory information. High-throughput recording methods facilitate the study of sensory coding in the cortex but have not been successfully applied to study spinal cord circuitry until recently. Here, we review the development of the in vivo two-photon spinal calcium imaging preparation and biological findings from the first systematic characterization of the spinal response to cutaneous thermal stimuli, focusing on the difference between the coding of heat and cold, and the contribution of different peripheral inputs to thermosensory response in the spinal cord. Here we also report that knockout of TRPV1 channel impairs sensation of warmth, and somatostatin- and calbindin2-expressing neurons in the spinal dorsal horn preferentially respond to heat. Future work combining this technology with genetic tools and animal models of chronic pain will further elucidate the role of each neuronal type in the spinal thermosensory coding and their plasticity under pathological condition.