Endocannabinoid-dependent plasticity at spinal nociceptor synapses

Ako Kato, Pradeep Punnakkal, Alejandro Javier Pernía-Andrade, Carolin von Schoultz, Salim Sharopov, Rita Nyilas, I. Katona, Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer

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30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neuroplastic changes at the spinal synapses between primary nociceptors and second order dorsal horn neurons play key roles in pain and analgesia. NMDA receptor-dependent forms of long-term plasticity have been studied extensively at these synapses, but little is known about possible contributions of the endocannabinoid system. Here, we addressed the role of cannabinoid (CB)1 receptors in activity-dependent plasticity at these synapses. We report that conditional low-frequency stimulation of high-threshold primary sensory nerve fibres paired with depolarisation of the postsynaptic neuron evoked robust long-term depression (LTD) of excitatory synaptic transmission by about 40% in the vast majority (90%) of recordings made in wild-type mice. When recordings were made from global or nociceptor-specific CB1 receptor-deficient mice (CB1-/- mice and sns-CB1-/- mice), the portion of neurons exhibiting LTD was strongly reduced to about 25%. Accordingly, LTD was prevented to a similar extent by the CB1 receptor antagonist AM 251 and mimicked by pharmacological activation of CB1 receptors. In a subset of neurons with EPSCs of particularly high stimulation thresholds, we furthermore found that the absence of CB1 receptors in CB1-/- and sns-CB1-/- mice converted the response to the paired conditioning stimulation protocol from LTD to long-term potentiation (LTP). Our results identify CB1 receptor-dependent LTD as a form of synaptic plasticity previously unknown in spinal nociceptors. They furthermore suggest that prevention of LTP may be a second hitherto unknown function of CB1 receptors in primary nociceptors. Both findings may have important implications for our understanding of endogenous pain control mechanisms and of analgesia evoked by cannabinoid receptor agonists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4717-4733
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume590
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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Cannabinoid Receptor CB1
Endocannabinoids
Nociceptors
Synapses
Long-Term Potentiation
Neurons
Analgesia
Sensory Thresholds
Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
Posterior Horn Cells
Pain
Cannabinoid Receptors
Neuronal Plasticity
N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptors
Nerve Fibers
Synaptic Transmission
Pharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

Kato, A., Punnakkal, P., Pernía-Andrade, A. J., von Schoultz, C., Sharopov, S., Nyilas, R., ... Zeilhofer, H. U. (2012). Endocannabinoid-dependent plasticity at spinal nociceptor synapses. Journal of Physiology, 590(19), 4717-4733. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2012.234229

Endocannabinoid-dependent plasticity at spinal nociceptor synapses. / Kato, Ako; Punnakkal, Pradeep; Pernía-Andrade, Alejandro Javier; von Schoultz, Carolin; Sharopov, Salim; Nyilas, Rita; Katona, I.; Zeilhofer, Hanns Ulrich.

In: Journal of Physiology, Vol. 590, No. 19, 10.2012, p. 4717-4733.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kato, A, Punnakkal, P, Pernía-Andrade, AJ, von Schoultz, C, Sharopov, S, Nyilas, R, Katona, I & Zeilhofer, HU 2012, 'Endocannabinoid-dependent plasticity at spinal nociceptor synapses', Journal of Physiology, vol. 590, no. 19, pp. 4717-4733. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2012.234229
Kato A, Punnakkal P, Pernía-Andrade AJ, von Schoultz C, Sharopov S, Nyilas R et al. Endocannabinoid-dependent plasticity at spinal nociceptor synapses. Journal of Physiology. 2012 Oct;590(19):4717-4733. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2012.234229
Kato, Ako ; Punnakkal, Pradeep ; Pernía-Andrade, Alejandro Javier ; von Schoultz, Carolin ; Sharopov, Salim ; Nyilas, Rita ; Katona, I. ; Zeilhofer, Hanns Ulrich. / Endocannabinoid-dependent plasticity at spinal nociceptor synapses. In: Journal of Physiology. 2012 ; Vol. 590, No. 19. pp. 4717-4733.
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