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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Apr 2020 - 24 Apr 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Apr 18

Cell Mol Neurobiol

Neurochemical and Ultrastructural Characterization of Unmyelinated Non-peptidergic C-Nociceptors and C-Low Threshold Mechanoreceptors Projecting to Lamina II of the Mouse Spinal Cord.


C-nociceptors (C-Ncs) and non-nociceptive C-low threshold mechanoreceptors (C-LTMRs) are two subpopulations of small unmyelinated non-peptidergic C-type neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) with central projections displaying a specific pattern of termination in the spinal cord dorsal horn. Although these two subpopulations exist in several animals, remarkable neurochemical differences occur between mammals, particularly rat/humans from one side and mouse from the other. Mouse is widely investigated by transcriptomics. Therefore, we here studied the immunocytochemistry of murine C-type DRG neurons and their central terminals in spinal lamina II at light and electron microscopic levels. We used a panel of markers for peptidergic (CGRP), non-peptidergic (IB4), nociceptive (TRPV1), non-nociceptive (VGLUT3) C-type neurons and two strains of transgenic mice: the TAFA4 knock-in mouse to localize the TAFA4 C-LTMRs, and a genetically engineered ginip mouse that allows an inducible and tissue-specific ablation of the DRG neurons expressing GINIP, a key modulator of GABAR-mediated analgesia. We confirmed that IB4 and TAFA4 did not coexist in small non-peptidergic C-type DRG neurons and separately tagged the C-Ncs and the C-LTMRs. We then showed that TRPV1 was expressed in only about 7% of the IB4 non-peptidergic C-Ncs and their type Ia glomerular terminals within lamina II. Notably, the selective ablation of GINIP did not affect these neurons, whereas it reduced IB4 labeling in the medial part of lamina II and the density of C-LTMRs glomerular terminals to about one half throughout the entire lamina. We discuss the significance of these findings for interspecies differences and functional relevance.