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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Nov 2023 - 17 Nov 2023

2023 Oct 25

Int J Mol Sci




Characterisation of GFAP-Expressing Glial Cells in the Dorsal Root Ganglion after Spared Nerve Injury.


Konnova EA, Deftu AF, Chu Sin Chung P, Pertin M, Kirschmann G, Decosterd I, Suter MR


Satellite glial cells (SGCs), enveloping primary sensory neurons’ somas in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), contribute to neuropathic pain upon nerve injury. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) serves as an SGC activation marker, though its DRG satellite cell specificity is debated. We employed the hGFAP-CFP transgenic mouse line, designed for astrocyte studies, to explore its expression within the peripheral nervous system (PNS) after spared nerve injury (SNI). We used diverse immunostaining techniques, Western blot analysis, and electrophysiology to evaluate GFAP+ cell changes. Post-SNI, GFAP+ cell numbers increased without proliferation, and were found near injured ATF3+ neurons. GFAP+ FABP7+ SGCs increased, yet 75.5% of DRG GFAP+ cells lacked FABP7 expression. This suggests a significant subset of GFAP+ cells are non-myelinating Schwann cells (nmSC), indicated by their presence in the dorsal root but not in the ventral root which lacks unmyelinated fibres. Additionally, patch clamp recordings from GFAP+ FABP7-cells lacked SGC-specific K4.1 currents, instead displaying outward K currents expressing K1.1 and K1.6 channels specific to nmSCs. In conclusion, this study demonstrates increased GFAP expression in two DRG glial cell subpopulations post-SNI: GFAP+ FABP7+ SGCs and GFAP+ FABP7- nmSCs, shedding light on GFAP’s specificity as an SGC marker after SNI.