Loss of spinal glycinergic neurons is not necessary for development of neuropathic pain in transgenic mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein in glycinergic neurons.Neuroscience 2009; 159(3):1148-53N
It has been proposed that alterations in spinal inhibitory neurotransmission are critically involved in the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain. The mechanisms by which a relief from inhibitory tone contributes to pathological pain are not fully understood. Hitherto it is still under debate whether there is a loss of inhibitory neurons in the spinal cord in neuropathic pain. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether a specific loss of glycinergic neurons is necessary to develop hyperalgesia and allodynia in the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model of neuropathic pain. The experiments were performed in bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice which specifically express enhanced green fluorescent protein under the control of the promotor of the glycine transporter 2 gene, which is a reliable marker for glycinergic neurons. Thus, possible technical inconsistencies due to immunoreactivity in fixed tissues could be ruled out. Twelve days after CCI, in neuropathic animals and in sham-operated and naive animals, lumbar and thoracic segments were analyzed using the physical disector method. Although all animals that had undergone CCI showed pathological nociceptive behavior, stereology revealed no significant difference in glycinergic neurons-neither between the different groups nor between the ipsilateral and contralateral side of the thoracic and lumbar spinal segments. Our findings suggest that a loss of glycinergic neurons is not necessary for the development of pathological nociceptive behavior in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain in mice. A different mechanism may account for the decrease in inhibitory transmission in neuropathic pain.