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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Aug 2023 - 18 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


2023 Jul 25

Int J Mol Sci




Sodium Leak Channel in Glutamatergic Neurons of the Lateral Parabrachial Nucleus Modulates Inflammatory Pain in Mice.


Wu L, Wu Y, Liu J, Jiang J, Zhou C, Zhang D


Elevated excitability of glutamatergic neurons in the lateral parabrachial nucleus (PBL) is associated with the pathogenesis of inflammatory pain, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. Sodium leak channel (NALCN) is widely expressed in the central nervous system and regulates neuronal excitability. In this study, chemogenetic manipulation was used to explore the association between the activity of PBL glutamatergic neurons and pain thresholds. Complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) was used to construct an inflammatory pain model in mice. Pain behaviour was tested using von Frey filaments and Hargreaves tests. Local field potential (LFP) was used to record the activity of PBL glutamatergic neurons. Gene knockdown techniques were used to investigate the role of NALCN in inflammatory pain. We further explored the downstream projections of PBL using cis-trans-synaptic tracer virus. The results showed that chemogenetic inhibition of PBL glutamatergic neurons increased pain thresholds in mice, whereas chemogenetic activation produced the opposite results. CFA plantar modelling increased the number of C-Fos protein and NALCN expression in PBL glutamatergic neurons. Knockdown of NALCN in PBL glutamatergic neurons alleviated CFA-induced pain. CFA injection induced C-Fos protein expression in central nucleus amygdala (CeA) neurons, which was suppressed by NALCN knockdown in PBL glutamatergic neurons. Therefore, elevated expression of NALCN in PBL glutamatergic neurons contributes to the development of inflammatory pain via PBL-CeA projections.