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Enhanced excitability of small dorsal root ganglion neurons in rats with bone cancer pain

DOI: 10.1186/1744-8069-8-24

Keywords: Bone cancer pain, Hyperalgesia, hyperexcitability, Peripheral sensitization, Dorsal root ganglion, rat

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Our present study showed that implantation of MRMT-1 tumor cells into the tibial canal in rats produced significant mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia in the ipsilateral hind paw. Moreover, implantation of tumor cells provoked spontaneous discharges and tonic excitatory discharges evoked by a depolarizing current pulse in small-sized DRG neurons. In line with these findings, alterations in intrinsic membrane properties that reflect the enhanced neuronal excitability were observed in small DRG neurons in bone cancer rats, of which including: 1) depolarized resting membrane potential (RMP); 2) decreased input resistance (Rin); 3) a marked reduction in current threshold (CT) and voltage threshold (TP) of action potential (AP); 4) a dramatic decrease in amplitude, overshot, and duration of evoked action potentials as well as in amplitude and duration of afterhyperpolarization (AHP); and 5) a significant increase in the firing frequency of evoked action potentials. Here, the decreased AP threshold and increased firing frequency of evoked action potentials implicate the occurrence of hyperexcitability in small-sized DRG neurons in bone cancer rats. In addiotion, immunofluorescent staining and single-cell reverse-transcriptase PCR revealed that in isolated small DRG neurons, most neurons were IB4-positive, or expressed TRPV1 or CGRP, indicating that most recorded small DRG neurons were nociceptive neurons. Finally, using in vivo behavioral test, we found that blockade of DRG neurons activity by TTX inhibited the tumor-evoked mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in bone cancer rats, implicating that the enhanced excitability of primary sensory neurons underlied the development of bone cancer pain.Our present results suggest that implantation of tumor cells into the tibial canal in rats induces an enhanced excitability of small-sized DRG neurons that is probably as results of alterations in intrinsic electrogenic properties of these neurons. Therefore, alterations


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