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BACKGROUND: Galanin is expressed at low levels in the intact sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia with a dramatic increase after peripheral nerve injury. The neuropeptide is also expressed in primary afferent terminals in the dorsal horn, spinal inter-neurons and in a number of brain regions known to modulate nociception. Intrathecal administration of galanin modulates sensory responses in a dose-dependent manner with inhibition at high doses. To date it is unclear which of the galanin receptors mediates the anti-nociceptive effects of the neuropeptide and whether their actions are peripherally and/or centrally mediated. In the present study we investigated the effects of direct administration into the receptive field of galanin and the galanin receptor-2/3-agonist Gal2-11 on nociceptive primary afferent mechanical responses in intact rats and mice and in the partial saphenous nerve injury (PSNI) model of neuropathic pain. RESULTS: Exogenous galanin altered the responses of mechano-nociceptive C-fibre afferents in a dose-dependent manner in both naive and nerve injured animals, with low concentrations facilitating and high concentrations markedly inhibiting mechano-nociceptor activity. Further, use of the galanin fragment Gal2-11 confirmed that the effects of galanin were mediated by activation of galanin receptor-2 (GalR2). The inhibitory effects of peripheral GalR2 activation were further supported by our demonstration that after PSNI, mechano-sensitive nociceptors in galanin over-expressing transgenic mice had significantly higher thresholds than in wild type animals, associated with a marked reduction in spontaneous neuronal firing and C-fibre barrage into the spinal cord. CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the high level of endogenous galanin in injured primary afferents activates peripheral GalR2, which leads to an increase in C-fibre mechanical activation thresholds and a marked reduction in evoked and ongoing nociceptive responses.
|Translated title of the contribution||Activation of the galanin receptor 2 in the periphery reverses nerve injury-induced allodynia|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Apr 2011|