Changes in Midbrain Pain Receptor Expression, Gait and Behavioral Sensitivity in a Rat Model of Radiculopathy
Priscilla Y Hwang1, Kyle D Allen1, 2, Mohammed F Shamji1, 3, Liufang Jing1, Brian A Mata2, Mostafa A Gabr2, Janet L Huebner4, Virginia B Kraus4, William J Richardson2, Lori A Setton*, 1, 2
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2012
First Page: 383
Last Page: 391
Publisher ID: TOORTHJ-6-383
Article History:Received Date: 28/2/2012
Revision Received Date: 25/7/2012
Acceptance Date: 31/7/2012
Electronic publication date: 3/9/2012
Collection year: 2012
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Intervertebral disc herniation may contribute to inflammatory processes that associate with radicular pain and motor deficits. Molecular changes at the affected dorsal root ganglion (DRG), spinal cord, and even midbrain, have been documented in rat models of radiculopathy or nerve injury. The objective of this study was to evaluate gait and the expression of key pain receptors in the midbrain in a rodent model of radiculopathy. Radiculopathy was induced by harvesting tail nucleus pulposus (NP) and placing upon the right L5 DRG in rats (NP-treated, n=12). Tail NP was discarded in sham-operated animals (n=12). Mechanical allodynia, weight-bearing, and gait were evaluated in all animals over time. At 1 and 4 weeks after surgery, astrocyte and microglial activation was tested in DRG sections. Midbrain sections were similarly evaluated for immunoreactivity to serotonin (5HT2B), mu-opioid (µ-OR), and metabotropic glutamate (mGluR4 and 5) receptor antibodies. NP-treated animals placed less weight on the affected limb 1 week after surgery and experienced mechanical hypersensitivity over the duration of the study. Astroctye activation was observed at DRGs only at 4 weeks after surgery. Findings for pain receptors in the midbrain of NP-treated rats included an increased expression of 5HT2B at 1, but not 4 weeks; increased expression of µ-OR and mGluR5 at 1 and 4 weeks (periaqueductal gray region only); and no changes in expression of mGluR4 at any point in this study. These observations provide support for the hypothesis that the midbrain responds to DRG injury with a transient change in receptors regulating pain responses.