Pre- and postsynaptic inhibitory control in the spinal cord dorsal horn

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Sensory information transmitted to the spinal cord dorsal horn is modulated by a complex network of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons. The two main inhibitory transmitters, GABA and glycine, control the flow of sensory information mainly by regulating the excitability of dorsal horn neurons. A presynaptic action of GABA has also been proposed as an important modulatory mechanism of transmitter release from sensory primary afferent terminals. By inhibiting the release of glutamate from primary afferent terminals, activation of presynaptic GABA receptors could play an important role in nociceptive and tactile sensory coding, while changes in their expression or function could be involved in pathological pain conditions, such as allodynia.

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