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Anesthesiology and Pain Management

Blockade of Persistent Sodium Currents Contributes to the Riluzole-Induced Inhibition of Spontaneous Activity and Oscillations in Injured DRG Neurons
Published: Monday, April 25, 2011
Author: Rou-Gang Xie et al.

by Rou-Gang Xie, Da-Wei Zheng, Jun-Ling Xing, Xu-Jie Zhang, Ying Song, Ya-Bin Xie, Fang Kuang, Hui Dong, Si-Wei You, Hui Xu, San-Jue Hu

In addition to a fast activating and immediately inactivating inward sodium current, many types of excitable cells possess a noninactivating or slowly inactivating component: the persistent sodium current (INaP). The INaP is found in normal primary sensory neurons where it is mediated by tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium channels. The dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is the gateway for ectopic impulses that originate in pathological pain signals from the periphery. However, the role of INaP in DRG neurons remains unclear, particularly in neuropathic pain states. Using in vivo recordings from single medium- and large-diameter fibers isolated from the compressed DRG in Sprague-Dawley rats, we show that local application of riluzole, which blocks the INaP, also inhibits the spontaneous activity of A-type DRG neurons in a dose-dependent manner. Significantly, riluzole also abolished subthreshold membrane potential oscillations (SMPOs), although DRG neurons still responded to intracellular current injection with a single full-sized spike. In addition, the INaP was enhanced in medium- and large-sized neurons of the compressed DRG, while bath-applied riluzole significantly inhibited the INaP without affecting the transient sodium current (INaT). Taken together, these results demonstrate for the first time that the INaP blocker riluzole selectively inhibits INaP and thereby blocks SMPOs and the ectopic spontaneous activity of injured A-type DRG neurons. This suggests that the INaP of DRG neurons is a potential target for treating neuropathic pain at the peripheral level.