Plasticity of dorsal root ganglion neurons in a rat model of post-infectious gut dysfunction: potential implication of nerve growth factor

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Intestinal infections are suggested as a risk factor for the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-like visceral hypersensitivity. The mechanisms implicated might involve long-term changes in visceral afferents, with implication of nerve growth factor (NGF). We explored plastic changes in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) receiving innervation from the gut and the potential implication of NGF in a rat model of IBS-like post-infectious gut dysfunction.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Rats were infected with Trichinella spiralis larvae. Thirty days post-infection, inflammatory markers, including interleukins (ILs) and mucosal mast cell infiltration (rat mast cell protease II [RMCPII]), and NGF and TrkA expression was determined in the jejunum and colon (RT-qPCR). In the same animals, morphometry (neuronal body size) and NGF content (immunofluorescence) were assessed in thoracolumbar DRG neurons.RESULTS: In infected animals, a low-grade inflammatory-like response, characterized by up-regulated levels of RMCPII and IL-6, was observed in the jejunum and colon. TrkA expression was increased in the jejunum, whereas the colon showed a slight reduction. NGF levels remained unaltered regardless the gut region. Overall, the mean cross-sectional area of DRG neurons was increased in T. spiralis-infected animals, with a reduction in both TrkA and NGF staining.CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that during T. spiralis infection in rats, there is a remodeling of sensory afferents that might imply a NGF-mediated mechanism. Plastic changes in sensory afferents might mediate the long-lasting functional alterations that characterize this model of IBS. Similar mechanisms might be operating in patients with post-infectious-IBS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1303
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume49
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • dorsal root ganglion
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • mast cells
  • nerve growth factor
  • Trichinella spiralis
  • TrkA receptor

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