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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Feb 2024 - 23 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 17

Cell Rep




A microglial activation cascade across cortical regions underlies secondary mechanical hypersensitivity to amputation.


Wei HR, Tang L, Yang XL, Chen CM, Li LX, Mao Y, Wang D, Kang F, Qun S, Zhang Z, Cao P, Jin Y


Neural mechanisms underlying amputation-related secondary pain are unclear. Using in vivo two-photon imaging, three-dimensional reconstruction, and fiber photometry recording, we show that a microglial activation cascade from the primary somatosensory cortex of forelimb (S1FL) to the primary somatosensory cortex of hindlimb (S1HL) mediates the disinhibition and subsequent hyperexcitation of glutamatergic neurons in the S1HL (S1HL), which then drives secondary mechanical hypersensitivity development in ipsilateral hindpaws of mice with forepaw amputation. Forepaw amputation induces rapid S1FL microglial activation that further activates S1HL microglia via the CCL2-CCR2 signaling pathway. Increased engulfment of GABAergic presynapses by activated microglia stimulates S1HL neuronal activity, ultimately leading to secondary mechanical hypersensitivity of hindpaws. It is widely believed direct neuronal projection drives interactions between distinct brain regions to prime specific behaviors. Our study reveals microglial interactions spanning different subregions of the somatosensory cortex to drive a maladaptive neuronal response underlying secondary mechanical hypersensitivity at non-injured sites.