Effects of gabapentin on spontaneous discharges and subthreshold membrane potential oscillation of type A neurons in injured DRG

Rui-Hua Yang, Jun-Ling Xing, Jian-Hong Duan, San-Jue Hu
Pain 2005, 116 (3): 187-93
Ectopic spontaneous discharges play a critical role for both initiation and maintenance of the neuropathic pain state. Gabapentin (GBP) has been shown to be effective in animal models of neuropathic pain as well as in chronic pain patients. To investigate the peripheral mechanisms of GBP, the effects of GBP on spontaneous discharges and subthreshold membrane potential oscillation (SMPO) of chronically compressed dorsal root ganglion (DRG) were examined electrophysiolocally in vitro. The rate of spontaneous discharges was transitorily enhanced when GBP was applied to the DRG. When the concentration was under 5microM, only enhanced effect was observed, while spontaneous discharges were completely suppressed when the concentration of GBP was beyond 5microM. The similar doses of GBP blocking the spontaneous discharges failed to block the propagation of impulses by electrical nerve stimulation. Furthermore, we found that the SMPO of injured DRG cells can be selectively abolished by GBP without interrupting spike propagation. The results suggest that the inhibitory effect of GBP on SMPO might be one of the membrane mechanisms of action of GBP. This may partially explain the antinociceptive action of GBP by directly suppression nociceptive afferent input to the spinal cord.

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