Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 196, Issue 1, pp 115–128 | Cite as

Ectopic discharge in Aβ afferents as a source of neuropathic pain

  • Marshall DevorEmail author


Ectopic discharge in axotomized dorsal root ganglion neurons is a key driver of neuropathic pain. However, the bulk of this activity is generated and carried centrally in large diameter myelinated Aβ afferents, a cell type that normally signals touch and vibration sense. Evidence is considered suggesting that following axotomy, Aβ afferents undergo a change in their electrical characteristics and also in the neurotransmitter complement that they express. This dual phenotypic switching renders them capable of (1) directly driving postsynaptic pain signaling pathways in the spinal cord, and (2) triggering and maintaining central sensitization.


Aβ pain Neuropathic pain Phenotypic switch Tactile allodynia 



I am grateful to Michael Tal and Adi Nitzan-Luques for helpful comments on the manuscript, to Yifat Kovalsky for providing Fig. 3 and to Geoff Bove for permitting use of Fig. 5.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Institute of Life Sciences and Center for Research on PainHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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