Descending projections from the insular cortex to the trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis facilitate excitatory outputs to the parabrachial nucleus in rats

Yuka Nakaya, Kiyofumi Yamamoto, Masayuki Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nociceptive information from the orofacial area projects to the trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis (Sp5C) and is then conveyed to several nuclei, including the parabrachial nucleus (PBN). The insular cortex (IC) receives orofacial nociceptive information and sends corticofugal projections to the Sp5C. The Sp5C consists of glutamatergic and GABAergic/glycinergic interneurons that induce excitatory postsynaptic currents and inhibitory postsynaptic currents, respectively, in projection neurons. Therefore, quantification of glutamatergic IC inputs in combination with identifying postsynaptic neuronal subtypes is critical to elucidate IC roles in the regulation of Sp5C activities. We investigated features of synaptic transmission from the IC to glutamatergic and GABAergic/glycinergic Sp5C neurons of laminae I/II using vesicular GABA transporter-Venus transgenic rats that received an injection of adeno-associated virus-channelrhodopsin-2-mCherry into the IC. Selective stimulation of IC axon terminals in Sp5C slice preparations induced monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic currents in both excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory GABAergic/glycinergic Sp5C neurons with a comparable amplitude. Paired whole-cell patch-clamp recordings showed that unitary inhibitory postsynaptic currents from inhibitory neurons influencing excitatory neurons, including neurons projecting to the PBN, exhibited a high failure rate and were suppressed by both bicuculline and strychnine, suggesting that excitatory neurons in the Sp5C receive both GABAergic and glycinergic inhibition with low impact. Moreover, selective stimulation of IC axons increased the firing rate at the threshold responses. Finally, we demonstrated that selective stimulation of IC axons in the Sp5C by a chemogenetic approach decreased the thresholds of both mechanical and thermal nociception. Thus, IC projection to the Sp5C is likely to facilitate rather than suppress excitatory outputs from the Sp5C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E157-E173
JournalPain
Volume164
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • EPSCs
  • Insular cortex
  • Medullary dorsal horn
  • Trigeminal nerve

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