I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jun 2019 - 7 Jun 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Oct




Editor's Pick

Transcriptional profile of spinal dynorphin-lineage interneurons in the developing mouse.


Serafin EK, Chamessian A, Li J, Zhang X, McGann A, Brewer CL, Berta T, Baccei M
Pain. 2019 Oct; 160(10):2380-2397.
PMID: 31166300.


Mounting evidence suggests that the spinal dorsal horn (SDH) contains multiple subpopulations of inhibitory interneurons that play distinct roles in somatosensory processing, as exemplified by the importance of spinal dynorphin-expressing neurons for the suppression of mechanical pain and chemical itch. While it is clear that GABAergic transmission in the SDH undergoes significant alterations during early postnatal development, little is known about the maturation of discrete inhibitory "microcircuits" within the region. As a result, the goal of the present study was to elucidate the gene expression profile of spinal dynorphin (pDyn)-lineage neurons throughout life. We isolated nuclear RNA specifically from pDyn-lineage SDH interneurons at postnatal days 7, 21, and 80 using the Isolation of Nuclei Tagged in Specific Cell Types (INTACT) technique, followed by RNA-seq analysis. Over 650 genes were ≥2-fold enriched in adult pDyn nuclei compared to non-pDyn spinal cord nuclei, including targets with known relevance to pain such as galanin (Gal), prepronociceptin (Pnoc), and nitric oxide synthase 1 (Nos1). In addition, the gene encoding a membrane-bound guanylate cyclase, Gucy2d, was identified as a novel and highly selective marker of the pDyn population within the SDH. Differential gene expression analysis comparing pDyn nuclei across the three ages revealed sets of genes that were significantly upregulated (such as Cartpt, encoding cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide) or downregulated (including Npbwr1, encoding the receptor for neuropeptides B/W) during postnatal development. Collectively, these results provide new insight into the potential molecular mechanisms underlying the known age-dependent changes in spinal nociceptive processing and pain sensitivity.