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Mechanical compression and nucleus pulposus application on dorsal root Ganglia differentially modify evoked neuronal activity in the thalamus.

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Elin Nilsson
Helena Brisby
Katarina Rask
Ingela Hammar
Publicerad i BioResearch open access
Volym 2
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 192-8
ISSN 2164-7844
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för neurovetenskap och fysiologi, sektionen för fysiologi
Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, Avdelningen för ortopedi
Sidor 192-8
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1089/biores.2012.0281
Ämneskategorier Neurofysiologi, Ortopedi


A combination of mechanical compression caused by a protruding disc and leakage of nucleus pulposus (NP) from the disc core is presumed to contribute to intervertebral disc hernia-related pain. Experimental models of disc hernia including both components have resulted in changes in neuronal activity at the level of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord, but changes within the brain have been less well studied. However, acute application of NP to a DRG without mechanical compression rapidly increases neuronal activity in the thalamus, a major brain relay nucleus processing information from sensory pathways including ascending nociceptive tracts. The combination of mechanical compression and NP might therefore result in further increases in central neuronal activity. Using an experimental disc herniation rat model including both mechanical compression and NP the present study aimed to investigate changes in neuronal activity in the contralateral thalamic ventral posterior lateral nucleus in vivo. Measurements were obtained while electrically stimulating the ipsilateral sciatic nerve at Aδ fiber intensities. The L4 DRG was subjected to light mechanical compression and NP exposure, and acute changes in evoked thalamic responses were recorded for up to 40 min. In order to compare effects in naïve animals with effects following a longer period of NP exposure, animals that were either disc-punctured or sham-operated 24 h previously were also included. In all animals, light mechanical compression of the DRG depressed the number of evoked neuronal responses. Prior NP exposure resulted in less potent changes following mechanical compression (80% of baseline) than that observed in naïve animals (50%). During the subsequent NP application, the number of evoked responses compared to baseline increased in pre-exposed animals (to 87%) as well as in naïve animals (72%) in which the removal of the mechanical compression resulted in a further increase (106%). The contribution of acute DRG compression and disc material leakage to changes in transmission in central neuronal networks is likely to be complex and to involve both short-term and long-term effects. Since a light mechanical compression may reduce transmission in nociceptive pathways, it is possible that the presence or absence of NP is crucial for pain development in the acute phase of disc herniation.

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