Cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) is a complex condition comprising components of inflammatory and neuropathic processes, but changes in the physiological response profiles of bone-innervating afferents remain poorly understood. We used a combination of retrograde labelling and in vivo calcium imaging of bone marrow-innervating DRG neurons to determine the contribution of these cells in the establishment and maintenance of CIBP. We found a majority of femoral bone afferent cell bodies in L3 DRG that also express the sodium channel subtype Nav1.8 – a marker of nociceptive neurons – and lack expression of parvalbumin – a marker for proprioceptive primary afferents. Surprisingly, the response properties of bone marrow afferents to both increased intraosseous pressure and acid were unchanged by the presence of cancer. On the other hand, we found increased excitability and polymodality of cutaneous afferents innervating the ipsilateral paw in cancer bearing animals, as well as a behavioral phenotype that suggests changes at the level of the DRG contribute to secondary hypersensitivity.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience