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Electrical stimulation of low-threshold afferent fibers induces a prolonged synaptic depression in lamina II dorsal horn neurons to high-threshold afferent inputs in mice



Electrical stimulation of low-threshold afferent fibers induces a prolonged synaptic depression in lamina II dorsal horn neurons to high-threshold afferent inputs in mice



Pain 156(6): 1008-1017



Electrical stimulation of low-threshold Aβ-fibers (Aβ-ES) is used clinically to treat neuropathic pain conditions that are refractory to pharmacotherapy. However, it is unclear how Aβ-ES modulates synaptic responses to high-threshold afferent inputs (C-, Aδ-fibers) in superficial dorsal horn. Substantia gelatinosa (SG) (lamina II) neurons are important for relaying and modulating converging spinal nociceptive inputs. We recorded C-fiber-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (eEPSCs) in spinal cord slices in response to paired-pulse test stimulation (500 μA, 0.1 millisecond, 400 milliseconds apart). We showed that 50-Hz and 1000-Hz, but not 4-Hz, Aβ-ES (10 μA, 0.1 millisecond, 5 minutes) induced prolonged inhibition of C-fiber eEPSCs in SG neurons in naive mice. Furthermore, 50-Hz Aβ-ES inhibited both monosynaptic and polysynaptic forms of C-fiber eEPSC in naive mice and mice that had undergone spinal nerve ligation (SNL). The paired-pulse ratio (amplitude second eEPSC/first eEPSC) increased only in naive mice after 50-Hz Aβ-ES, suggesting that Aβ-ES may inhibit SG neurons by different mechanisms under naive and nerve-injured conditions. Finally, 50-Hz Aβ-ES inhibited both glutamatergic excitatory and GABAergic inhibitory interneurons, which were identified by fluorescence in vGlut2-Td and glutamic acid decarboxylase-green fluorescent protein transgenic mice after SNL. These findings show that activities in Aβ-fibers lead to frequency-dependent depression of synaptic transmission in SG neurons in response to peripheral noxious inputs. However, 50-Hz Aβ-ES failed to induce cell-type-selective inhibition in SG neurons. The physiologic implication of this novel form of synaptic depression for pain modulation by Aβ-ES warrants further investigation.

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Accession: 057746333

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PMID: 25974163


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