Peripheral nerve injury increases contribution of L-type calcium channels to synaptic transmission in spinal lamina II: Role of α2δ-1 subunits. Academic Article uri icon


  • Background Following peripheral nerve chronic constriction injury, the accumulation of the α2δ-1 auxiliary subunit of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels in primary afferent terminals contributes to the onset of neuropathic pain. Overexpression of α2δ-1 in Xenopus oocytes increases the opening properties of Cav1.2 L-type channels and allows Ca2+ influx at physiological membrane potentials. We therefore posited that L-type channels play a role in neurotransmitter release in the superficial dorsal horn in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain. Results Whole-cell recording from lamina II neurons from rats, subject to sciatic chronic constriction injury, showed that the L-type Ca2+ channel blocker, nitrendipine (2 µM) reduced the frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents. Nitrendipine had little or no effect on spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current frequency in neurons from sham-operated animals. To determine whether α2δ-1 is involved in upregulating function of Cav1.2 L-type channels, we tested the effect of the α2δ-1 ligand, gabapentin (100 µM) on currents recorded from HEK293F cells expressing Cav1.2/β4/α2δ-1 channels and found a significant decrease in peak amplitude with no effect on control Cav1.2/β4/α2δ-3 expressing cells. In PC-12 cells, gabapentin also significantly reduced the endogenous dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium current. In lamina II, gabapentin reduced spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current frequency in neurons from animals subject to chronic constriction injury but not in those from sham-operated animals. Intraperitoneal injection of 5 mg/kg nitrendipine increased paw withdrawal threshold in animals subject to chronic constriction injury. Conclusion We suggest that L-type channels show an increased contribution to synaptic transmission in lamina II dorsal horn following peripheral nerve injury. The effect of gabapentin on Cav1.2 via α2δ-1 may contribute to its anti-allodynic action.

publication date

  • December 2018