Publications by authors named "Charlotte Bichara"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Enhanced analgesic cholinergic tone in the spinal cord in a mouse model of neuropathic pain.

Neurobiol Dis 2021 Apr 18;155:105363. Epub 2021 Apr 18.

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université de Strasbourg, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, 67000 Strasbourg, France; University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS), 67000 Strasbourg, France. Electronic address:

Endogenous acetylcholine (ACh) is an important modulator of nociceptive sensory processing in the spinal cord. An increased level of spinal ACh induces analgesia both in humans and rodents while interfering with cholinergic signaling is allodynic, demonstrating that a basal tone of spinal ACh modulates nociceptive responses in naïve animals. The plasticity undergone by this cholinergic system in chronic pain situation is unknown, and the mere presence of this tone in neuropathic animals is controversial. We have addressed these issues in mice through behavioral experiments, histology, electrophysiology and molecular biology, in the cuff model of peripheral neuropathy. Our behavior experiments demonstrate the persistence, and even increased impact of the analgesic cholinergic tone acting through nicotinic receptors in cuff animals. The neuropathy does not affect the number or membrane properties of dorsal horn cholinergic neurons, nor specifically the frequency of their synaptic inputs. The alterations thus appear to be in the neurons receiving the cholinergic signaling, which is confirmed by the fact that subthreshold doses of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors in sham animals become anti-allodynic in cuff mice and by the altered expression of the β2 nicotinic receptor subunit. Our results demonstrate that endogenous cholinergic signaling can be manipulated to relieve mechanical allodynia in animal models of peripheral neuropathy. Until now, AChE inhibitors have mainly been used in the clinics in situations of acute pain (parturition, post-operative). The fact that lower doses (thus with fewer side effects) could be efficient in chronic pain conditions opens new avenues for the treatment of neuropathic pain. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Chronic pain continues to be the most common cause of disability that impairs the quality of life, accruing enormous and escalating socio-economic costs. A better understanding of the plasticity of spinal neuronal networks, crucially involved in nociceptive processing, could help designing new therapeutic avenues. We here demonstrate that chronic pain modifies the spinal nociceptive network in such a way that it becomes more sensitive to cholinergic modulations. The spinal cholinergic system is responsible for an analgesic tone that can be exacerbated by acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, a property used in the clinic to relief acute pain (child birth, post-op). Our results suggest that lower doses of acetylcholinesterases, with even fewer side effects, could be efficient to relieve chronic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105363DOI Listing
April 2021

Absence of Subcerebral Projection Neurons Is Beneficial in a Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Ann Neurol 2020 10 11;88(4):688-702. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Inserm UMR_S 1118, Mécanismes centraux et périphériques de la neurodégénérescence, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.

Objective: Recent studies carried out on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients suggest that the disease might initiate in the motor cortex and spread to its targets along the corticofugal tracts. In this study, we aimed to test the corticofugal hypothesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis experimentally.

Methods: Sod1 and Fezf2 knockout mouse lines were crossed to generate a model that expresses a mutant of the murine Sod1 gene ubiquitously, a condition sufficient to induce progressive motor symptoms and premature death, but genetically lacks corticospinal neurons and other subcerebral projection neurons, one of the main populations of corticofugal neurons. Disease onset and survival were recorded, and weight and motor behavior were followed longitudinally. Hyper-reflexia and spasticity were monitored using electromyographic recordings. Neurodegeneration and gliosis were assessed by histological techniques.

Results: Absence of subcerebral projection neurons delayed disease onset, reduced weight loss and motor impairment, and increased survival without modifying disease duration. Absence of corticospinal neurons also limited presymptomatic hyper-reflexia, a typical component of the upper motoneuron syndrome.

Interpretation: Major corticofugal tracts are crucial to the onset and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In the context of the disease, subcerebral projection neurons might carry detrimental signals to their downstream targets. In its entirety, this study provides the first experimental arguments in favor of the corticofugal hypothesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:688-702.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25833DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7540428PMC
October 2020