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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Jun 2023 - 16 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Genetics, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging


2023 May 18



Distinct Local and Global Functions of Aβ Low-Threshold Mechanoreceptors in Mechanical Pain Transmission.


Gautam M, Yamada A, Yamada AI, Wu Q, Kridsada K, Ling J, Yu H, Dong P, Ma M, Gu J, Luo W


The roles of Aβ low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs) in transmitting mechanical hyperalgesia and in alleviating chronic pain have been of great interest but remain contentious. Here we utilized intersectional genetic tools, optogenetics, and high-speed imaging to specifically examine functions of labeled Aβ-LTMRs in this regard. Genetic ablation of Split -Aβ-LTMRs increased mechanical pain but not thermosensation in both acute and chronic inflammatory pain conditions, indicating their modality-specific role in gating mechanical pain transmission. Local optogenetic activation of Split -Aβ-LTMRs triggered nociception after tissue inflammation, whereas their broad activation at the dorsal column still alleviated mechanical hypersensitivity of chronic inflammation. Taking all data into consideration, we propose a new model, in which Aβ-LTMRs play distinctive local and global roles in transmitting and alleviating mechanical hyperalgesia of chronic pain, respectively. Our model suggests a new strategy of global activation plus local inhibition of Aβ-LTMRs for treating mechanical hyperalgesia.