I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Aug 2023 - 25 Aug 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Aug 19

Brain Res


The Impact of Sciatic Nerve Injury and Social Interactions Testing on Glucocorticoid Receptor Expression in Catecholaminergic Medullary Cell Populations.


Sosa MKS, Boorman DC, Keay KA


Paradoxically, while acute pain leads to transiently elevated corticosterone, chronic pain does not result in persistently elevated corticosterone. In the sciatic nerve chronic constriction injury (CCI) model of chronic pain, we have shown that the same nerve injury produces a range of behavioural outcomes, each associated with distinctive adaptations to the HPA-axis to achieve stable plasma corticosterone levels. We also demonstrated that CRF and GR expression in the paraventricular hypothalamus (PVH) was increased in rats that showed persistent changes to their social behaviours during Resident-Intruder testing (‘Persistent Effect’ rats) when compared to rats that showed no behavioural changes (‘No Effect’ rats). In this study, we investigated whether these changes were driven in part by altered sensitivity of the brainstem catecholaminergic pathways (known to regulate the PVH) to glucocorticoids. GR expression in adrenergic (C1,C2) and noradrenergic (A1,A2) cells was determined using immunohistochemistry in behaviourally tested CCI rats and in uninjured controls. We found no differences between Persistent Effect and No Effect rats in (1) the glucocorticoid sensitivity of these cells, or (2) the numbers of adrenergic and noradrenergic cells in each region. However, we discovered an overall reduction in GR expression in the non-catecholaminergic cells of these regions in both experimental groups when compared to uninjured controls, most likely attributable to the repeated Resident-Intruder testing. Taken together, these data suggest strongly that brainstem mechanisms are unlikely to play a key role in the rebalancing of the HPA-axis triggered by CCI, increasing the probability that these changes are driven by supra-hypothalamic regions.