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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Sep 2020 - 25 Sep 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Sep 22

Cell Tissue Res

Prior perineural or neonatal treatment with capsaicin does not alter the development of spinal microgliosis induced by peripheral nerve injury.


Peripheral nerve injury is associated with spinal microgliosis which plays a pivotal role in the development of neuropathic pain behavior. Several agents of primary afferent origin causing the microglial reaction have been identified, but the type(s) of primary afferents that release these mediators are still unclear. In this study, specific labeling of C-fiber spinal afferents by lectin histochemistry and selective chemodenervation by capsaicin were applied to identify the type(s) of primary afferents involved in the microglial response. Comparative quantitative morphometric evaluation of the microglial reaction in central projection territories of intact and injured peripheral nerves in the superficial (laminae I and II) and deep (laminae III and IV) spinal dorsal horn revealed a significant, about three-fold increase in microglial density after transection of the sciatic or the saphenous nerve. Prior perineural treatment of these nerves with capsaicin, resulting in a selective defunctionalization of C-fiber afferent fibers failed to affect spinal microgliosis. Similarly, peripheral nerve injury-induced increase in microglial density was unaffected in rats treated neonatally with capsaicin known to result in a near-total loss of C-fiber dorsal root fibers. Perineural treatment with capsaicin per se did not evoke a significant increase in microglial density. These observations indicate that injury-induced spinal microgliosis may be attributed to phenotypic changes in injured myelinated primary afferent neurons, whereas the contribution of C-fiber primary sensory neurons to this neuroimmune response is negligible. Spinal myelinated primary afferents may play a hitherto unrecognized role in regulation of neuroimmune and perisynaptic microenvironments of the spinal dorsal horn.