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Activation of the galanin receptor 2 in the periphery reverses nerve injury-induced allodynia

Author(s): Hulse Richard | Wynick David | Donaldson Lucy

Journal: Molecular Pain
ISSN 1744-8069

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 26;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Galanin is expressed at low levels in the intact sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia with a dramatic increase after peripheral nerve injury. The neuropeptide is also expressed in primary afferent terminals in the dorsal horn, spinal inter-neurons and in a number of brain regions known to modulate nociception. Intrathecal administration of galanin modulates sensory responses in a dose-dependent manner with inhibition at high doses. To date it is unclear which of the galanin receptors mediates the anti-nociceptive effects of the neuropeptide and whether their actions are peripherally and/or centrally mediated. In the present study we investigated the effects of direct administration into the receptive field of galanin and the galanin receptor-2/3-agonist Gal2-11 on nociceptive primary afferent mechanical responses in intact rats and mice and in the partial saphenous nerve injury (PSNI) model of neuropathic pain. Results Exogenous galanin altered the responses of mechano-nociceptive C-fibre afferents in a dose-dependent manner in both naive and nerve injured animals, with low concentrations facilitating and high concentrations markedly inhibiting mechano-nociceptor activity. Further, use of the galanin fragment Gal2-11 confirmed that the effects of galanin were mediated by activation of galanin receptor-2 (GalR2). The inhibitory effects of peripheral GalR2 activation were further supported by our demonstration that after PSNI, mechano-sensitive nociceptors in galanin over-expressing transgenic mice had significantly higher thresholds than in wild type animals, associated with a marked reduction in spontaneous neuronal firing and C-fibre barrage into the spinal cord. Conclusions These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the high level of endogenous galanin in injured primary afferents activates peripheral GalR2, which leads to an increase in C-fibre mechanical activation thresholds and a marked reduction in evoked and ongoing nociceptive responses.
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