Contribution of dorsal horn CGRP-expressing interneurons to mechanical sensitivity.
ABSTRACT: Primary sensory neurons are generally considered the only source of dorsal horn calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neuropeptide critical to the transmission of pain messages. Using a tamoxifen-inducible CalcaCreER transgenic mouse, here we identified a distinct population of CGRP-expressing excitatory interneurons in lamina III of the spinal cord dorsal horn and trigeminal nucleus caudalis. These interneurons have spine-laden, dorsally directed, dendrites, and ventrally directed axons. As under resting conditions, CGRP interneurons are under tonic inhibitory control, neither innocuous nor noxious stimulation provoked significant Fos expression in these neurons. However, synchronous, electrical non-nociceptive Aβ primary afferent stimulation of dorsal roots depolarized the CGRP interneurons, consistent with their receipt of a VGLUT1 innervation. On the other hand, chemogenetic activation of the neurons produced a mechanical hypersensitivity in response to von Frey stimulation, whereas their caspase-mediated ablation led to mechanical hyposensitivity. Finally, after partial peripheral nerve injury, innocuous stimulation (brush) induced significant Fos expression in the CGRP interneurons. These findings suggest that CGRP interneurons become hyperexcitable and contribute either to ascending circuits originating in deep dorsal horn or to the reflex circuits in baseline conditions, but not in the setting of nerve injury.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC8245130 | BioStudies |