Involvement of nerve injury and activation of peripheral glial cells in tetanic sciatic stimulation-induced persistent pain in rats

Lingli Liang, Zhiyong Wang, Ning Lü, Jiale Yang, Yuqiu Zhang, Zhiqi Zhao
Journal of Neuroscience Research 2010, 88 (13): 2899-910
Tetanic stimulation of the sciatic nerve (TSS) produces long-lasting pain hypersensitivity in rats. Long-term potentiation (LTP) of C- and A-fiber-evoked field potentials in the spinal cord has been explored as contributing to central sensitization in pain pathways. However, the peripheral mechanism underlying TSS-induced pain hypersensitivity remains largely unknown. We investigated the effect of TSS on peripheral nerve and the expression of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) as a marker of neuronal injury. TSS induced a mechanical allodynia for at least 35 days and induced ATF3 expression in the ipsilateral DRG. ATF3 is colocalized with NF200-labeled myelinated DRG neurons or CGRP- and IB4-labeled unmyelinated ones. Furthermore, we found that TSS induced Wallerian degeneration of sciatic nerve at the level of myelinisation by S100 protein (to label Schwann cells) immunohistochemistry, luxol fast blue staining, and electron microscopy. TSS also elicited the activation of satellite glial cells (SGCs) and enhanced the colocalization of GFAP and P2X7 receptors. Repeated local treatment with tetrodotoxin decreased GFAP expression in SGCs and behavioral allodynia induced by TSS. Furthermore, reactive microglia and astrocytes were found in the spinal dorsal horn after TSS. These results suggest that TSS-induced nerve injury and glial activation in the DRG and spinal dorsal horn may be involved in cellular mechanisms underlying the development of persistent pain after TSS and that TSS-induced nerve injury may be used as a novel neuropathic pain model.


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