The effect of endoneurial nerve growth factor on calcitonin gene-related peptide expression in primary sensory neurons.Brain Res. 2005 Apr 25; 1042(1):44-52.BR
Recent findings indicate that calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is involved in neuropathic pain, this peptide being up-regulated in a small population of large- and medium-sized primary sensory neurons after peripheral nerve injury. In adult animals, the expression of CGRP is regulated by nerve growth factor (NGF). After nerve injury, NGF is up-regulated at the injury site for several weeks, and this up-regulation contributes to the onset of neuropathic pain. Using immunohistochemistry, we investigated the time course of the effect of an endoneurial injection of NGF on the expression of CGRP in primary sensory neurons. NGF increased the percentage of medium- to large-sized DRG neuron profiles expressing CGRP, did not modify the percentage of small-sized neurons expressing CGRP, and increased CGRP expression in the laminae III and IV of the dorsal horn. The effects of NGF were evident as soon as 1 day after endoneurial injection, and lasted for 5 days. Ten days after the injection of NGF, the patterns of CGRP expression in the DRG were normal, whereas a slight decrease in CGRP content was observed in the dorsal horn. The injection of vehicle did not produce any change on CGRP expression in primary sensory neurons. These results suggest that endoneurial NGF is responsible for the increase in CGRP expression in some large-sized neurons and their central processes observed after nerve injury in animal models of neuropathic pain. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the role of NGF in neuropathic pain.