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Characterization of intrinsic properties of cingulate pyramidal neurons in adult mice after nerve injury

Xiao-Yan Cao1, Hui Xu1, Long-Jun Wu1, Xiang-Yao Li1, Tao Chen12 and Min Zhuo12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Medical Science Building, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada

2 Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-746, Korea

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Molecular Pain 2009, 5:73  doi:10.1186/1744-8069-5-73

Published: 16 December 2009


The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is important for cognitive and sensory functions including memory and chronic pain. Glutamatergic excitatory synaptic transmission undergo long-term potentiation in ACC pyramidal cells after peripheral injury. Less information is available for the possible long-term changes in neuronal action potentials or intrinsic properties. In the present study, we characterized cingulate pyramidal cells in the layer II/III of the ACC in adult mice. We then examined possible long-term changes in intrinsic properties of the ACC pyramidal cells after peripheral nerve injury. In the control mice, we found that there are three major types of pyramidal cells according to their action potential firing pattern: (i) regular spiking (RS) cells (24.7%), intrinsic bursting (IB) cells (30.9%), and intermediate (IM) cells (44.4%). In a state of neuropathic pain, the population distribution (RS: 21.3%; IB: 31.2%; IM: 47.5%) and the single action potential properties of these three groups were indistinguishable from those in control mice. However, for repetitive action potentials, IM cells from neuropathic pain animals showed higher initial firing frequency with no change for the properties of RS and IB neurons from neuropathic pain mice. The present results provide the first evidence that, in addition to synaptic potentiation reported previously, peripheral nerve injury produces long-term plastic changes in the action potentials of cingulate pyramidal neurons in a cell type-specific manner.