Hyperalgesia and neural excitability following injuries to central and peripheral branches of axons and somata of dorsal root ganglion neurons

Xue-Jun Song, Carlos Vizcarra, Dong-Sheng Xu, Ronald L Rupert, Zheng-Nan Wong
Journal of Neurophysiology 2003, 89 (4): 2185-93
We examined thermal hyperalgesia, excitability of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, and antinociceptive effects of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists in rats with injury to different regions of DRG neurons. The central or peripheral branches of axons of DRG neurons were injured by partial dorsal rhizotomy (PDR) and chronic constriction injury of sciatic nerve (CCI), respectively, or the somata injured by chronic compression of DRG (CCD). Thermal hyperalgesia was evidenced by significantly shortened latencies of foot withdrawal to radiant heat stimulation of the plantar surface. Intracellular recordings were obtained in vitro from L(4) and/or L(5) ganglia. There are four principle findings: 1) PDR as well as CCD and CCI induced thermal hyperalgesia; 2) PDR produced significantly less severe and shorter duration hyperalgesia than CCD and CCI; 3) intrathecal administration of NMDA receptor antagonists d-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV) and dizocilpine maleate (MK-801) inhibited thermal hyperalgesia in PDR, CCD, and CCI rats. Pretreatment of APV and MK-801 delayed the emergence of hyperalgesia for 48-72 h, while posttreatment inhibited hyperalgesia for 24-36 h; and 4) CCD and CCI increased excitability of DRG neurons as judged by the significantly lowered threshold currents and action potential voltage thresholds and increased incidence of repetitive discharges. However, PDR did not alter the excitability of DRG neurons. These findings indicate that injury to the dorsal root, compared with injury to the peripheral nerve or DRG somata has different effects on the development of hyperalgesia. These contributions involve different changes in DRG membrane excitability, but each involves pathways (presumably in the spinal cord) that depend on NMDA receptors.

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