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Gene Programs of Spinal Cord Cells Mediating Pain States: Identification of Protein targeting to glycogen as an induced gene in spinal cord astrocytes upon peripheral pain

Lu, Shiying

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Abstract

Nociceptive pain signals are relayed in the spinal cord as they are transmitted from the periphery to higher brain centers. The neuronal populations in the spinal cord that transmit peripheral stimuli are very heterogeneous. This has hampered the identification of interneuron subtypes involved in pain processing and the characterization of their functional connectivities. In this study, I obtained a transcriptomic profile of spinal cord cells specifically activated by a peripheral painful stimulus using the recently developed phospho-ribosome profiling technique, and identified Protein targeting to glycogen (Ptg) as a pain-induced gene in spinal astrocytes. Ptg is known to play an important role in glycogenesis. I observed elevated spinal cord glycogen levels in response to different painful stimuli and proposed a correlation between the magnitude and duration of glycogen elevation with the persistency of different pain models. Moreover, manipulation of Ptg expression and glycogen metabolism led to altered pain sensitivity. My study points toward a new perspective of the role of astrocytes in pain processing and a potential link between changes in the metabolic state and pain processing in the spinal cord.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Siemens, Dr. Jan
Date of thesis defense: 16 February 2018
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2018 08:40
Date: 2018
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Bio Sciences > Dean's Office of the Faculty of Bio Sciences
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