Our research focuses on the chemical mechanisms responsible for the integration of sensory input to the spinal cord, especially as they pertain to pain. In particular, we study short and long term alterations in sensory mechanisms that follow spinal cord or peripheral nerve injury. To study this plasticity, we use a combination of techniques, including patch clamp electrophysiology and functional imaging (including multiophoton microscopy) in spinal cord slices and isolated neurons. The chemical mechanisms that we mainly focus on are those involving GABA, excitatory amino acids, and neuropeptides such as substance P and endorphins.
Prescott S.A. & De Koninck, Y. (2003) Gain control of firing rate by shunting inhibition: roles of synaptic noise and dendritic saturation, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:2076-2081.
Prescott, S.A. & De Koninck, Y. (2002) Four cell types with distinctive membrane properties and morphologies in lamina I of the spinal dorsal horn of the rat, J. Physiol. (Lond) 539: 817-836.
Keller, A.F., Coull, J.A.M., Chéry, N., Poisbeau, P. & De Koninck, Y. (2001) Region-specific developmental specialization of GABA/glycine cosynapses in laminae I-II of the rat spinal dorsal horn, J. Neurosci. 21:7871-80.
Wong, T.P., Marchese, G., Casu, M.A., Ribeiro-da-Silva, A., Cuello,, A.C. & De Koninck, Y. (2000) Loss of pre- and postsynaptic structures is accompanied by compensatory increase in action potential-dependent synaptic input to layer V neocortical pyramidal neurons in aged rats, J. Neurosci. 20:8596–8606.
Chéry, N. & De Koninck, Y. (1999) Junctional vs. extrajunctional glycine and GABAA receptor-mediated IPSCs in identified lamina I neurons of the adult rat spinal cord, J.Neurosci. 19:7342-7355.