Conventional Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation in an Experimental Model of Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Quantitative Immunocytochemical Analysis of Intracellular gamma-Aminobutyric Acid in Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons

Glenn Franken*, Perla Douven, Jacques Debets, Elbert A. J. Joosten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Background and Objective The sensory cell somata in the DRG contain all equipment necessary for extensive GABAergic signaling and are able to release GABA upon depolarization. With this study, we hypothesize that pain relief induced by conventional dorsal root ganglion stimulation (Con-DRGS) in animals with experimental painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy is related to the release of GABA from DRG neurons. With use of quantitative immunocytochemistry, we hypothesize DRGS to result in a decreased intensity of intracellular GABA-immunostaining in DRG somata. Materials and Methods Female Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 31) were injected with streptozotocin (STZ) in order to induce Diabetes Mellitus. Animals that developed neuropathic pain after four weeks (Von Frey) were implanted with a unilateral DRGS device at L4 (n = 14). Animals were then stimulated for 30 min with Con-DRGS (20 Hz, pulse width = 0.2 msec, amplitude = 67% of motor threshold, n = 8) or Sham-DRGS (n = 6), while pain behavior (von Frey) was measured. DRGs were then collected and immunostained for GABA, and a relation to size of sensory cell soma diameter (small: 12-26 mu m, assumed to be C-fiber related sensory neurons; medium: 26-40 mu m, assumed to be A delta related sensory neurons; and large: 40-54 mu m, assumed to be A beta related sensory neurons) was made. Results DRGS treated animals showed significant reductions in STZ-induced mechanical hypersensitivity. No significant differences in GABA immunostaining intensity per sensory neuron cell soma type (small-, medium-, or large-sized) were noted in DRGs of stimulated (Con-DRGS) animals versus Sham animals. No differences in GABA immunostaining intensity per sensory cell soma type in ipsi- as compared to contralateral DRGs were observed. Conclusion Con-DRGS does not affect the average intracellular GABA immunofluorescence staining intensity in DRG sensory neurons of those animals which showed significant pain reduction. Similarly, no soma size related changes in intracellular GABA immunofluorescence were observed following Con-DRGS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-645
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Dorsal root ganglion stimulation
  • GABA
  • neuromodulation
  • neuropathic pain
  • painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • RATS
  • HORN

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