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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 18



Potassium channel modulation in macrophages sensitizes dorsal root ganglion neurons after nerve injury.


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


Macrophages and satellite glial cells are found between injured and uninjured neurons in the lumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG). We explored the mechanism of neuro-immune and neuron-glia crosstalk leading to hyperexcitability of DRG neurons. After spared nerve injury (SNI), CX3CR1 resident macrophages became activated, proliferated, and increased inward-rectifying potassium channel K 2.1 currents. Conditioned medium (CM) by macrophages, obtained from DRG of SNI mice, sensitized small DRG neurons from naïve mice. However, treatment with CM from GFAP glial cells did not affect neuronal excitability. When subjected to this macrophage-derived CM, DRG neurons had increased spontaneous activity, current-evoked responses and voltage-gated Na 1.7 and Na 1.8 currents. Silencing K 2.1 in macrophages after SNI prevented the induction of neuronal hyperexcitability from their CM. Blocking vesicular exocytosis or soluble tumor necrosis factor in CM or interfering with the downstream intracellular p38 pathway in neurons, also prevented neuronal hyperexcitability. Blocking protein trafficking in neurons reduced the effect of CM, suggesting that the hyperexcitable state resulted from changes in Na channel trafficking. These results suggest that DRG macrophages, primed by peripheral nerve injury, contribute to neuron-glia crosstalk, Na channel dysregulation and neuronal hyperexcitability implicated in the development of neuropathic pain.