Articles by Karen Haenraets in JoVE
Adeno-associated Virus-mediated Transgene Expression in Genetically Defined Neurons of the Spinal Cord Karen Haenraets*1,2, Gioele W. Albisetti*1, Edmund Foster1, Hendrik Wildner1 1Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, 2Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute (ETH) Zurich Intraspinal injection of recombinase dependent recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) can be used to manipulate any genetically labelled cell type in the spinal cord. Here we describe how to transduce neurons in the dorsal horn of the lumbar spinal cord. This technique enables functional interrogation of the manipulated neuron subtype.
Other articles by Karen Haenraets on PubMed
Morphological, Biophysical and Synaptic Properties of Glutamatergic Neurons of the Mouse Spinal Dorsal Horn The Journal of Physiology. | Pubmed ID: 24324003 Interneurons of the spinal dorsal horn are central to somatosensory and nociceptive processing. A mechanistic understanding of their function depends on profound knowledge of their intrinsic properties and their integration into dorsal horn circuits. Here, we have used BAC transgenic mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) under the control of the vesicular glutamate transporter (vGluT2) gene (vGluT2::eGFP mice) to perform a detailed electrophysiological and morphological characterisation of excitatory dorsal horn neurons, and to compare their properties to those of GABAergic (Gad67::eGFP tagged) and glycinergic (GlyT2::eGFP tagged) neurons. vGluT2::eGFP was detected in about one-third of all excitatory dorsal horn neurons and, as demonstrated by the co-expression of vGluT2::eGFP with different markers of subtypes of glutamatergic neurons, probably labelled a representative fraction of these neurons. Three types of dendritic tree morphologies (vertical, central, and radial), but no islet cell-type morphology, were identified in vGluT2::eGFP neurons. vGluT2::eGFP neurons had more depolarised action potential thresholds and longer action potential durations than inhibitory neurons, while no significant differences were found for the resting membrane potential, input resistance, cell capacitance and after-hyperpolarisation. Delayed firing and single action potential firing were the single most prevalent firing patterns in vGluT2::eGFP neurons of the superficial and deep dorsal horn, respectively. By contrast, tonic firing prevailed in inhibitory interneurons of the dorsal horn. Capsaicin-induced synaptic inputs were detected in about half of the excitatory and inhibitory neurons, and occurred more frequently in superficial than in deep dorsal horn neurons. Primary afferent-evoked (polysynaptic) inhibitory inputs were found in the majority of glutamatergic and glycinergic neurons, but only in less than half of the GABAergic population. Excitatory dorsal horn neurons thus differ from their inhibitory counterparts in several biophysical properties and possibly also in their integration into the local neuronal circuitry.
Targeted Ablation, Silencing, and Activation Establish Glycinergic Dorsal Horn Neurons As Key Components of a Spinal Gate for Pain and Itch Neuron. | Pubmed ID: 25789756 The gate control theory of pain proposes that inhibitory neurons of the spinal dorsal horn exert critical control over the relay of nociceptive signals to higher brain areas. Here we investigated how the glycinergic subpopulation of these neurons contributes to modality-specific pain and itch processing. We generated a GlyT2::Cre transgenic mouse line suitable for virus-mediated retrograde tracing studies and for spatially precise ablation, silencing, and activation of glycinergic neurons. We found that these neurons receive sensory input mainly from myelinated primary sensory neurons and that their local toxin-mediated ablation or silencing induces localized mechanical, heat, and cold hyperalgesia; spontaneous flinching behavior; and excessive licking and biting directed toward the corresponding skin territory. Conversely, local pharmacogenetic activation of the same neurons alleviated neuropathic hyperalgesia and chloroquine- and histamine-induced itch. These results establish glycinergic neurons of the spinal dorsal horn as key elements of an inhibitory pain and itch control circuit.
Spinal Nociceptive Circuit Analysis with Recombinant Adeno-associated Viruses: the Impact of Serotypes and Promoters Journal of Neurochemistry. | Pubmed ID: 28700081 Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector-mediated gene transfer into genetically defined neuron subtypes has become a powerful tool to study the neuroanatomy of neuronal circuits in the brain and to unravel their functions. More recently, this methodology has also become popular for the analysis of spinal cord circuits. To date, a variety of naturally occurring AAV serotypes and genetically modified capsid variants are available but transduction efficiency in spinal neurons, target selectivity, and the ability for retrograde tracing are only incompletely characterized. Here, we have compared the transduction efficiency of seven commonly used AAV serotypes after intraspinal injection. We specifically analyzed local transduction of different types of dorsal horn neurons, and retrograde transduction of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons and of neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) and the somatosensory cortex (S1). Our results show that most of the tested rAAV vectors have similar transduction efficiency in spinal neurons. All serotypes analyzed were also able to transduce DRG neurons and descending RVM and S1 neurons via their spinal axon terminals. When comparing the commonly used rAAV serotypes to the recently developed serotype 2 capsid variant rAAV2retro, a > 20-fold increase in transduction efficiency of descending supraspinal neurons was observed. Conversely, transgene expression in retrogradely transduced neurons was strongly reduced when the human synapsin 1 (hSyn1) promoter was used instead of the strong ubiquitous hybrid cytomegalovirus enhancer/chicken β-actin promoter (CAG) or cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter fragments. We conclude that the use of AAV2retro greatly increases transduction of neurons connected to the spinal cord via their axon terminals, while the hSyn1 promoter can be used to minimize transgene expression in retrogradely connected neurons of the DRG or brainstem. Cover Image for this issue: doi. 10.1111/jnc.13813.