Time-dependent and selective microglia-mediated removal of spinal synapses in neuropathic pain.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cell Rep, Volume 42, Issue 1, p.112010 (2023)


Humans, Microglia, Neuralgia, Spinal Cord, Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn, Synapses


<p>Neuropathic pain is a debilitating condition resulting from damage to the nervous system. Imbalance of spinal excitation and inhibition has been proposed to contribute to neuropathic pain. However, the structural basis of this imbalance remains unknown. Using a preclinical model of neuropathic pain, we show that microglia selectively engulf spinal synapses that are formed by central neurons and spare those of peripheral sensory neurons. Furthermore, we reveal that removal of inhibitory and excitatory synapses exhibits distinct temporal patterns, in which microglia-mediated inhibitory synapse removal precedes excitatory synapse removal. We also find selective and gradual increase in complement depositions on dorsal horn synapses that corresponds to the temporal pattern of microglial synapse pruning activity and type-specific synapse loss. Together, these results define a specific role for microglia in the progression of neuropathic pain pathogenesis and implicate these immune cells in structural remodeling of dorsal horn circuitry.</p>

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