Interneuron Transplant Treats Neuropathic Pain in Mice

But transplantation of embryonic GABAergic interneurons ineffective against inflammatory pain

FRIDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Transplanting embryonic GABAergic interneurons into the spinal cords of mice is highly effective for treating neuropathic pain but not inflammatory pain, according to an experimental study published in the May 24 issue of Neuron.

Noting that neuropathic pain may result from the loss of inhibitory GABAergic neurons, João M. Bráz, Ph.D., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues transplanted immature telencephalic GABAergic interneurons from the mouse medial ganglionic eminence into the spinal cords of adult mouse models of inflammatory and nerve injury-induced pain.

The researchers found that the transplanted interneurons integrated well into the spinal cord circuitry, made functional connections with primary afferent and spinal cord neurons, and completely reversed mechanical hypersensitivity after peripheral nerve injury. In contrast, the transplant was ineffective against inflammatory pain.

"Our findings suggest that medial ganglionic eminence-derived GABAergic interneurons overcome the spinal cord hyperexcitability that is a hallmark of nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain," Braz and colleagues conclude.

The authors have a patent pending on the treatment described in this study.

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