A PROGRESSIVE BUILD-UP OF PERINEURONAL NETS IN THE SOMATOSENSORY CORTEX IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRONIC PAIN IN MICE

Giada Mascio, Serena Notartomaso, Katiuscia Martinello, Francesca Liberatore, Domenico Bucci, Tiziana Imbriglio, Milena Cannella, Nico Antenucci, Pamela Scarselli, Roberta Lattanzi, Valeria Bruno, Ferdinando Nicoletti, Sergio Fucile, Giuseppe Battaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chronic pain is sustained by a maladaptive form of neuronal plasticity occurring in all stations of the pain neuraxis, including cortical regions of the pain matrix. We report that chronic inflammatory pain induced by unilateral injection of Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA) in the hindpaw of male mice was associated with a progressive build-up of perineuronal nets (PNNs) in the contralateral somatosensory cortex (SSCtx), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFCtx), and reticular thalamic nucleus. In the SSCtx, the density of PNNs labeled by Wisteria Fluribunda Agglutinin (WFA) was increased at both 3 and 7 days following CFA injection, but only after 7 days in the mPFCtx. The number of parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons enwrapped by WFA+/PNNs was also increased in all three brain regions of mice injected with CFA. Remarkably, PNN degradation induced by intracortical infusion of chondroitinase-ABC significantly reduced mechanical and thermal pain, and also reversed the increased frequency of inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) recorded in layer 5 pyramidal neurons of the contralateral SSCtx in CFA-injected mice. These findings suggest a possible relationship between cortical PNNs and nociceptive sensitization, and support the hypothesis that PNNs maintain their plasticity in the adult life and regulate cortical responses to sensory inputs.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTThe brain extracellular matrix not only provides structural support, but also regulates synapse formation and function, and modulates neuronal excitability. We found that chronic inflammatory pain in mice enhances the density of perineuronal nets (PNNs) in the somatosensory cortex and medial prefrontal cortex. Remarkably, enzymatic degradation of PNNs in the somatosensory cortex caused analgesia and reversed alterations of inhibitory synaptic transmission associated with chronic pain. These findings disclose a novel mechanism of nociceptive sensitization and support a role for PNNs in mechanisms of neuronal plasticity in the adult brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3037-3048
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Volume42
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 6 2022

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