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J Neurophysiol. 2011 Dec;106(6):3067-72. doi: 10.1152/jn.00752.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Chronic compression of mouse dorsal root ganglion alters voltage-gated sodium and potassium currents in medium-sized dorsal root ganglion neurons.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., P.O. 208051, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Chronic compression (CCD) of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is a model of human radicular pain produced by intraforaminal stenosis and other disorders affecting the DRG, spinal nerve, or root. Previously, we examined electrophysiological changes in small-diameter lumbar level 3 (L3) and L4 DRG neurons treated with CCD; the present study extends these observations to medium-sized DRG neurons, which mediate additional sensory modalities, both nociceptive and non-nociceptive. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were obtained from medium-sized somata in the intact DRG in vitro. Compared with neurons from unoperated control animals, CCD neurons exhibited a decrease in the current threshold for action potential generation. In the CCD group, current densities of TTX-resistant and TTX-sensitive Na(+) current were increased, whereas the density of delayed rectifier voltage-dependent K(+) current was decreased. No change was observed in the transient or "A" current after CCD. We conclude that CCD in the mouse produces hyperexcitability in medium-sized DRG neurons, and the hyperexcitability is associated with an increased density of Na(+) current and a decreased density of delayed rectifier voltage-dependent K(+) current.

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