The anterior cingulate cortex is a limbic region associated with the emotional processing of pain. How neuropathic and inflammatory pain models alter the neurophysiology of specific subsets of neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex remains incompletely understood. Here, we used a GRM2Cre:tdtomato reporter mouse line to identify a population of pyramidal neurons selectively localized to layer II/III of the murine anterior cingulate cortex. GRM2encodes the group II metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2 which possesses analgesic properties in mouse and human models, although its function in the anterior cingulate cortex is not known. The majority of GRM2-tdtomato anterior cingulate cortex neurons expressed GRM2gene product in situ but did not overlap with cortical markers of local inhibitory interneurons, parvalbumin or somatostatin. Physiological properties of GRM2-tdtomato anterior cingulate cortex neurons were investigated using whole-cell patch clamp techniques in slice from animals with neuropathic or inflammatory pain, and controls. After hind-paw injection of Complete Freund’s Adjuvant or chronic constriction injury, GRM2-tdtomato anterior cingulate cortex neurons exhibited enhanced excitability as measured by an increase in the number of evoked action potentials and a decreased rheobase. This hyperexcitability was reversed pharmacologically by bath application of the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2 agonist (2R, 4R)-4-Aminopyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylate APDC (1 µM) in both inflammatory and neuropathic models. We conclude that layer II/III pyramidal GRM2-tdtomato anterior cingulate cortex neurons express functional group II metabotropic glutamate receptors and undergo changes to membrane biophysical properties under conditions of inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
Keywords: Anterior cingulate cortex; group II; inflammatory; metabotropic glutamate receptor; neuropathic; pain.