Ablation of C-fibers decreases quantal size of GABAergic synaptic transmission in the insular cortex

Shota Murayama, Kiyofumi Yamamoto, Mari Kaneko, Bunnai Ogiso, Masayuki Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The primary sensory cortex exhibits neuroplastic changes responding to sensory disturbances, and GABAergic synaptic transmission plays a critical role in the regulation of plasticity. The insular cortex (IC) integrates orofacial nociceptive signals conveyed via myelinated Aδ- and unmyelinated C-fibers. However, it has been unknown whether a disturbance of nociceptive inputs, such as a deletion of the peripheral nerves, alters GABAergic local circuit in IC. The present study elucidated GABAergic synaptic transmission in the model rat whose C-fibers were ablated by capsaicin injection 1–2 days after birth. In vivo optical imaging revealed that capsaicin-treated rats showed a facilitative excitatory propagation in IC responding to dental pulp stimulation. Whole-cell patch-clamp recording from pyramidal neurons (Pyr) demonstrated that capsaicin-treated rats showed the smaller amplitude of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) than sham-treated rats without changing the frequency. Furthermore, replacement of extracellular Ca2+ to Sr2+, which induces an asynchronous release of neurotransmitters in the quantal size, induced a smaller amplitude of asynchronous unitary IPSCs recorded from fast-spiking GABAergic interneuron to Pyr connections in capsaicin-treated rats than sham-treated rats. These results suggest that capsaicin treatment depresses IPSCs via a postsynaptic mechanism. To confirm this possibility, the variance-mean analysis of unitary IPSCs was employed and we found that quantal size of GABAergic synaptic transmission was smaller in capsaicin-treated rats than in sham-treated rats. These results suggest that ablation of C-fibers induces plastic changes in GABAergic synaptic transmission by decreasing postsynaptic GABAA receptor-mediated conductance, which is a possible mechanism of the facilitative excitation in IC of capsaicin-treated rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2017


  • inhibitory synaptic transmission
  • insular cortex
  • nociception


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