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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2019 Dec 01



Chronic pain models amplify transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptor responses in adult rat spinal dorsal horn.


Persistent pain is associated with negative affect originating from hypersensitivity and/or allodynia. The spinal cord is a key area for nociception as well as chronic pain processing. Specifically, the dorsal horn neurons in lamina II (substantia gelatinosa: SG) receive nociceptive inputs from primary afferents such as C fibers and/or Aδ fibers. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) is a major receptor to sense heat as well as nociception. TRPV1 are expressed in the periphery and the central axon terminals of C fibers and/or Aδ fibers in the spinal cord. Activating TRPV1 enhances the release of glutamate in the spinal cord from naïve rodents. Here, we studied whether or not chronic pain could alter the response of TRPV1 channels to exogenous, capsaicin through study of synaptic transmission and neural activity in rat SG neurons. Using in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp recording, we found that bath application of capsaicin facilitated both the frequency and amplitude of miniature and spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents beyond a nerve injury and a complete Freund's adjuvant injection observed in the naïve group. Strikingly, capsaicin produced larger amplitudes of inward currents in pain models than compared to the naïve group. By contrast, the proportions of neurons that show capsaicin-induced inward currents were similar among naïve and pain groups. Importantly, the capsaicin-induced inward currents were conducted by TRPV1 and required calcium influx that was independent of voltage-gated calcium channels. Our study provides fundamental evidence that chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain models amplify the release of glutamate through the activation of TRPV1 in central axon terminals, and that facilitation of TRPV1 function in rat spinal SG neurons may contribute to enhanced capsaicin-induced inward currents.