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J Cell Mol Med. 2014 Dec;18(12):2367-71. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12406. Epub 2014 Oct 14.

Satellite glial cells in dorsal root ganglia are activated in streptozotocin-treated rodents.

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Laboratory of Experimental Surgery, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.


Neuropathic pain is a very common complication in diabetes mellitus (DM), and treatment for it is limited. As DM is becoming a global epidemic it is important to understand and treat this problem. The mechanisms of diabetic neuropathic pain are largely obscure. Recent studies have shown that glial cells are important for a variety of neuropathic pain types, and we investigated what are the changes that satellite glial cells (SGCs) in dorsal root ganglia undergo in a DM type 1 model, induced by streptozotocin (STZ) in mice and rats. We carried out immunohistochemical studies to learn about changes in the activation marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in SGCs. We found that after STZ-treatment the number of neurons surrounded with GFAP-positive SGCs in dorsal root ganglia increased 4-fold in mice and 5-fold in rats. Western blotting for GFAP, which was done only on rats because of the larger size of the ganglia, showed an increase of about 2-fold in STZ-treated rats, supporting the immunohistochemical results. These results indicate for the first time that SGCs are activated in rodent models of DM1. As SGC activation appears to contribute to chronic pain, these results suggest that SGCs may participate in the generation and maintenance of diabetic neuropathic pain, and can serve as a potential therapeutic target.


diabetes; glial fibrillary acidic protein; neuropathic pain; satellite glial cells

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