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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Apr 2023 - 5 May 2023

Basic Science

In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

2023 Apr 08

Int J Mol Sci




Synaptic Targets of Glycinergic Neurons in Laminae I-III of the Spinal Dorsal Horn.


Miranda CO, Hegedüs K, Kis G, Antal M


A great deal of evidence supports the inevitable importance of spinal glycinergic inhibition in the development of chronic pain conditions. However, it remains unclear how glycinergic neurons contribute to the formation of spinal neural circuits underlying pain-related information processing. Thus, we intended to explore the synaptic targets of spinal glycinergic neurons in the pain processing region (laminae I-III) of the spinal dorsal horn by combining transgenic technology with immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization accompanied by light and electron microscopy. First, our results suggest that, in addition to neurons in laminae I-III, glycinergic neurons with cell bodies in lamina IV may contribute substantially to spinal pain processing. On the one hand, we show that glycine transporter 2 immunostained glycinergic axon terminals target almost all types of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons identified by their neuronal markers in laminae I-III. Thus, glycinergic postsynaptic inhibition, including glycinergic inhibition of inhibitory interneurons, must be a common functional mechanism of spinal pain processing. On the other hand, our results demonstrate that glycine transporter 2 containing axon terminals target only specific subsets of axon terminals in laminae I-III, including nonpeptidergic nociceptive C fibers binding IB4 and nonnociceptive myelinated A fibers immunoreactive for type 1 vesicular glutamate transporter, indicating that glycinergic presynaptic inhibition may be important for targeting functionally specific subpopulations of primary afferent inputs.