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      Different immune cells mediate mechanical pain hypersensitivity in male and female mice

      Nature neuroscience

      Springer Nature

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          Quantitative assessment of tactile allodynia in the rat paw

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            Microglia promote learning-dependent synapse formation through brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

            Microglia are the resident macrophages of the CNS, and their functions have been extensively studied in various brain pathologies. The physiological roles of microglia in brain plasticity and function, however, remain unclear. To address this question, we generated CX3CR1(CreER) mice expressing tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase that allow for specific manipulation of gene function in microglia. Using CX3CR1(CreER) to drive diphtheria toxin receptor expression in microglia, we found that microglia could be specifically depleted from the brain upon diphtheria toxin administration. Mice depleted of microglia showed deficits in multiple learning tasks and a significant reduction in motor-learning-dependent synapse formation. Furthermore, Cre-dependent removal of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from microglia largely recapitulated the effects of microglia depletion. Microglial BDNF increases neuronal tropomyosin-related kinase receptor B phosphorylation, a key mediator of synaptic plasticity. Together, our findings reveal that microglia serve important physiological functions in learning and memory by promoting learning-related synapse formation through BDNF signaling. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              BDNF from microglia causes the shift in neuronal anion gradient underlying neuropathic pain.

              Neuropathic pain that occurs after peripheral nerve injury depends on the hyperexcitability of neurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Spinal microglia stimulated by ATP contribute to tactile allodynia, a highly debilitating symptom of pain induced by nerve injury. Signalling between microglia and neurons is therefore an essential link in neuropathic pain transmission, but how this signalling occurs is unknown. Here we show that ATP-stimulated microglia cause a depolarizing shift in the anion reversal potential (E(anion)) in spinal lamina I neurons. This shift inverts the polarity of currents activated by GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), as has been shown to occur after peripheral nerve injury. Applying brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mimics the alteration in E(anion). Blocking signalling between BDNF and the receptor TrkB reverses the allodynia and the E(anion) shift that follows both nerve injury and administration of ATP-stimulated microglia. ATP stimulation evokes the release of BDNF from microglia. Preventing BDNF release from microglia by pretreating them with interfering RNA directed against BDNF before ATP stimulation also inhibits the effects of these cells on the withdrawal threshold and E(anion). Our results show that ATP-stimulated microglia signal to lamina I neurons, causing a collapse of their transmembrane anion gradient, and that BDNF is a crucial signalling molecule between microglia and neurons. Blocking this microglia-neuron signalling pathway may represent a therapeutic strategy for treating neuropathic pain.
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                Journal
                10.1038/nn.4053

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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