This video was selected as part of the scientific popularization competition “Highlight on the next generation 2020” organized by the QPRN. In this video, students from the Quebec Network of Junior Pain Investigators (QNJPI) present their research project.
Dorsal Root Ganglia are peripheral sensory hubs. Their role is to detect a variety of environmental signals through diverse populations of highly specialized cells called neurons, and transfer this information to the brain. Acidification or pH decrease is one of these important signals and one of the first responses after injury or inflammation due to protons release. Acid-Sensing Ion Channels (ASICs) are the main sensors of acidification of the surrounding environment of neurons. ASICs have several different subunits with unique properties. Thus, investigating their expression pattern in different neuronal populations within Dorsal Root Ganglia is essential to better understand their implication in sensing different stimuli. During my PhD research, I used a combination of imaging techniques to specifically visualize these subunits in different neuronal populations in the Dorsal Root Ganglia of mice. I uncovered a complicated expression pattern which implies that each one of these ASICs subunits is involved in sensing different signals. Moreover, I revealed that peripheral injury affects the presence of ASICs subunits in pain-sensing neuronal populations, further supporting the idea that ASICs could be good targets for drug development against pain.