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Mice lacking spinal α2GABAA receptors: Altered GABAergic neurotransmission, diminished GABAergic antihyperalgesia, and potential compensatory mechanisms preventing a hyperalgesic phenotype


Tudeau, Laetitia; Acuña, Mario A; Albisetti, Gioele W; Neumann, Elena; Ralvenius, William T; Scheurer, Louis; Poe, Michael; Cook, James M; Johannssen, Helge C; Zeilhofer, Hanns Ulrich (2020). Mice lacking spinal α2GABAA receptors: Altered GABAergic neurotransmission, diminished GABAergic antihyperalgesia, and potential compensatory mechanisms preventing a hyperalgesic phenotype. Brain Research, 1741:146889.

Abstract

Diminished synaptic inhibition in the superficial spinal dorsal horn contributes to exaggerated pain responses that accompany peripheral inflammation and neuropathy. α2GABAA receptors (α2GABAAR) constitute the most abundant GABAAR subtype at this site and are the targets of recently identified antihyperalgesic compounds. Surprisingly, hoxb8-α2−/− mice that lack α2GABAAR from the spinal cord and peripheral sensory neurons exhibit unaltered sensitivity to acute painful stimuli and develop normal inflammatory and neuropathic hyperalgesia. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of GABAergic neurotransmission, of behavioral phenotypes and of possible compensatory mechanisms in hoxb8-α2−/− mice. Our results confirm that hoxb8-α2−/− mice show significantly diminished GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) in the superficial dorsal horn but no hyperalgesic phenotype. We also confirm that the potentiation of dorsal horn GABAergic IPSCs by the α2-preferring GABAAR modulator HZ-166 is reduced in hoxb8-α2−/− mice and that hoxb8-α2−/− mice are resistant to the analgesic effects of HZ-166. Tonic GABAergic currents, glycinergic IPSCs, and sensory afferent-evoked EPSCs did not show significant changes in hoxb8-α2−/− mice rendering a compensatory up-regulation of other GABAAR subtypes or of glycine receptors unlikely. Although expression of serotonin and of the serotonin producing enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) was significantly increased in the dorsal horn of hoxb8-α2−/− mice, ablation of serotonergic terminals from the lumbar spinal cord failed to unmask a nociceptive phenotype. Our results are consistent with an important contribution of α2GABAAR to spinal nociceptive control but their ablation early in development appears to activate yet-to-be identified compensatory mechanisms that protect hoxb8-α2−/− mice from hyperalgesia.

Abstract

Diminished synaptic inhibition in the superficial spinal dorsal horn contributes to exaggerated pain responses that accompany peripheral inflammation and neuropathy. α2GABAA receptors (α2GABAAR) constitute the most abundant GABAAR subtype at this site and are the targets of recently identified antihyperalgesic compounds. Surprisingly, hoxb8-α2−/− mice that lack α2GABAAR from the spinal cord and peripheral sensory neurons exhibit unaltered sensitivity to acute painful stimuli and develop normal inflammatory and neuropathic hyperalgesia. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of GABAergic neurotransmission, of behavioral phenotypes and of possible compensatory mechanisms in hoxb8-α2−/− mice. Our results confirm that hoxb8-α2−/− mice show significantly diminished GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) in the superficial dorsal horn but no hyperalgesic phenotype. We also confirm that the potentiation of dorsal horn GABAergic IPSCs by the α2-preferring GABAAR modulator HZ-166 is reduced in hoxb8-α2−/− mice and that hoxb8-α2−/− mice are resistant to the analgesic effects of HZ-166. Tonic GABAergic currents, glycinergic IPSCs, and sensory afferent-evoked EPSCs did not show significant changes in hoxb8-α2−/− mice rendering a compensatory up-regulation of other GABAAR subtypes or of glycine receptors unlikely. Although expression of serotonin and of the serotonin producing enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) was significantly increased in the dorsal horn of hoxb8-α2−/− mice, ablation of serotonergic terminals from the lumbar spinal cord failed to unmask a nociceptive phenotype. Our results are consistent with an important contribution of α2GABAAR to spinal nociceptive control but their ablation early in development appears to activate yet-to-be identified compensatory mechanisms that protect hoxb8-α2−/− mice from hyperalgesia.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Life Sciences > Developmental Biology
Language:English
Date:15 August 2020
Deposited On:31 Jul 2020 16:21
Last Modified:01 Aug 2020 20:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0006-8993
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2020.146889
PubMed ID:32439345

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