Ion channels associated with the ectopic discharges generated after segmental spinal nerve injury in the rat

Xianzeng Liu, Jun Li Zhou, Kyungsoon Chung, Jin Chung

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In an attempt to identify important ion channels contributing to the generation of ectopic discharges, the present study examined the effects of ion channel blockers on ectopic discharges of injured sensory neurons after spinal nerve ligation. The main focus of the study was to examine the effect of the sodium channel blocker, tetrodotoxin (TTX), in order to identify important subtype(s) (i.e. TTX-sensitive and TTX-resistant) of sodium channels that are involved in ectopic discharge generation. In addition, the effects of potassium and calcium channel blockers were also tested for comparison with the results of previous studies. The dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of the injured segment was removed along with the dorsal root (DR) and the spinal nerve 7-14 days after spinal nerve ligation in the rat. The tissue was placed in an in-vitro recording chamber consisting of multiple compartments that were independently perfused with 35°C artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF). Single unit recordings were made from teased DR fibers. Once a spontaneously active unit was found and characterized, ACSF containing a channel blocker was perfused to the DRG, the site where almost all ectopic discharges originate after spinal nerve ligation. All the recorded spontaneously active units were found to be Aβ and Aδ fibers (no C fibers were detected). Perfusion of the DRG with a sodium channel blocker (lidocaine) at a dose much less than that required to block conduction of action potentials, significantly inhibited ectopic discharges in all recorded fibers. In addition, ectopic discharges were inhibited by TTX perfused to the DRG at a dose much lower (average of 22.1 nM) than that required to block TTX-resistant subtypes of sodium channels. The data suggest that TTX-sensitive sodium channels are likely to be involved in the generation of ectopic discharges. The present study also confirmed the results of previous studies on the additional potential roles of potassium and calcium channels, thus suggesting that multiple ion channels are likely to be involved in the generation of ectopic discharges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 4 2001



  • Dorsal root ganglion (DRG)
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Sodium channel
  • Spinal nerve ligation model
  • Tetrodotoxin (TTX)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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