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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Oct 2022 - 14 Oct 2022

Animal Studies


Front Cell Neurosci


Synchronous firing of dorsal horn neurons at the origin of dorsal root reflexes in naïve and paw-inflamed mice.


Lucas-Romero J, Rivera-Arconada I, Lopez-Garcia JA
Front Cell Neurosci. 2022; 16:1004956.
PMID: 36212688.


Spinal interneurons located in the dorsal horn induce primary afferent depolarization (PAD) controlling the excitability of the afferent's terminals. Following inflammation, PAD may reach firing threshold contributing to maintain inflammation and pain. Our aim was to study the collective behavior of dorsal horn neurons, its relation to backfiring of primary afferents and the effects of a peripheral inflammation in this system. Experiments were performed on slices of spinal cord obtained from naïve adult mice or mice that had suffered an inflammatory pretreatment. Simultaneous recordings from groups of dorsal horn neurons and primary afferents were obtained and machine-learning methodology was used to analyze effective connectivity between them. Dorsal horn recordings showed grouping of spontaneous action potentials from different neurons in "population bursts." These occurred at irregular intervals and were formed by action potentials from all classes of neurons recorded. Compared to naïve, population bursts from treated animals concentrated more action potentials, had a faster onset and a slower decay. Population bursts were disrupted by perfusion of picrotoxin and held a strong temporal correlation with backfiring of afferents. Effective connectivity analysis allowed pinpointing specific neurons holding pre- or post-synaptic relation to the afferents. Many of these neurons had an irregular fast bursting pattern of spontaneous firing. We conclude that population bursts contain action potentials from neurons presynaptic to the afferents which are likely to control their excitability. Peripheral inflammation may enhance synchrony in these neurons, increasing the chance of triggering action potentials in primary afferents and contributing toward central sensitization.