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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Dec 2019 - 27 Dec 2019

Animal Studies

2019 12 23

Acta Neuropathol Commun



Sleep deprivation of rats increases postsurgical expression and activity of L-type calcium channel in the dorsal root ganglion and slows recovery from postsurgical pain.


Li Q, Zhu Z-Y, Lu J, Chao Y-C, Zhou X-X, Huang Y, Chen X-M, Su D-S, Yu W-F, Gu X-Y
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2019 12 23; 7(1):217.
PMID: 31870460.


Perioperative sleep disturbance is a risk factor for persistent pain after surgery. Clinical studies have shown that patients with insufficient sleep before and after surgery experience more intense and long-lasting postoperative pain. We hypothesize that sleep deprivation alters L-type calcium channels in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), thus delaying the recovery from post-surgical pain. To verify this hypothesis, and to identify new predictors and therapeutic targets for persistent postoperative pain, we first established a model of postsurgical pain with perioperative sleep deprivation (SD) by administering hind paw plantar incision to sleep deprivation rats. Then we conducted behavioral tests, including tests with von Frey filaments and a laser heat test, to verify sensory pain, measured the expression of L-type calcium channels using western blotting and immunofluorescence of dorsal root ganglia (an important neural target for peripheral nociception), and examined the activity of L-type calcium channels and neuron excitability using electrophysiological measurements. We validated the findings by performing intraperitoneal injections of calcium channel blockers and microinjections of dorsal root ganglion cells with adeno-associated virus. We found that short-term sleep deprivation before and after surgery increased expression and activity of L-type calcium channels in the lumbar dorsal root ganglia, and delayed recovery from postsurgical pain. Blocking these channels reduced impact of sleep deprivation. We conclude that the increased expression and activity of L-type calcium channels is associated with the sleep deprivation-mediated prolongation of postoperative pain. L-type calcium channels are thus a potential target for management of postoperative pain.