CV - PEIRS Cedric


Dr. Cedric Peirs




Postdoctoral Associate


University Clermont-Auvergne (France), Postdoctoral Associate

University of Pittsburgh (United States), Postdoctoral Associate

University of Auvergne (France), Ph.D. in Neuroscience

University of Bordeaux (France) – University of Melbourne (Australia), M.Sc. in Cell Biology and Pathophysiology

University of Bordeaux (France), B.Sc. in Cell Biology and Physiology



INSERM U1107 - Neuro-Dol: Trigeminal Pain and Migraine

Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire

2, rue de Braga

63100, Clermont-Ferrand - FRANCE


+33 4 73 17 73 11

Research Interest:

A major impediment to identifying new pain treatments is our poor understanding of the neural networks and mechanisms that underlie pain. This apparent lack of knowledge is partially due to the high level of heterogeneity and complexity of the spinal cord dorsal horn, the first central node in somatosensory pathways and the locus where activation of the nociceptive circuit (which conveys painful information) first manifests. My previous and current research focus on the neurobiology of pain, especially the neuronal circuitry that resides in the spinal cord and medullary dorsal horns.

During my PhD, I focused on segmental mechanisms that underlie touch-induced pain in the setting of injury, using rodent animal models of persistent pain. In the laboratory of Pr. Radhouane Dallel in Clermont-Ferrand (France), I specifically investigated the anatomical and electrophysiological properties of protein kinase C gamma (PKCγ) interneurons in the medullary dorsal horn, which are known to play a key role in the neuroplasticity underlying touch-induced pain. I unmasked the circuit underlying static mechanical allodynia using the capsaicin pain model and described a complete cellular mechanism responsible for the disinhibition of PKCγ neurons that leads to the transformation of touch into pain. Publications from this work provide information about the identity and role of PKCγ interneurons in the neuronal circuit that conveys touch as painful after injury.

For my postdoctoral work, I joined Dr. Rebecca Seal’s laboratory in Pittsburgh (United States) to study VGLUT3 KO mice in order to further reveal the circuit underlying mechanical pain. Those mice do not develop mechanical pain while conserving other modalities intact, such as thermal, touch or itch sensation, making this line ideal to study the circuit underlying mechanical pain. In this body of work, I used a host of recently generated viral tools to identify several of the long-elusive neuronal populations that form the persistent pain network. In addition, this work produced the concept that multiple spinal microcircuits encode mechanical hypersensitivity and each has its own signature role in facilitating the pain depending on the type of insult.

Back in the laboratory of Pr. Radhouane Dallel in Clermont-Ferrand (France) as a postdoctoral associate, my current research is still dedicated to the understanding of pain circuits. Combining opto/pharmacogenetics, behavior analysis, patch-clamp electrophysiology, cell biology, viral tracings and calcium imaging, I am now investigating the anatomical and functional organization of the neuronal circuits engaged in chronic pain, including those in the dorsal horn, but also their dynamics and the conditions of their recruitment.

Technical expertise:

- Electrophysiology: Ex vivo whole cell patch-clamp recording (spinal cord slices with dorsal roots, DRGs and skin attached), optogenetic and pharmacogenetic, single cell morphology by biocytin tracing.

- Surgery: French degree in animal experimentation Level 1, intra-spinal microinjection, cannulation and cerebral microinjection, intrathecal/intracisternal injections.

- Imaging: Single to quadruple immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence by photonic, confocal and electron microscopy, calcium imaging.

- Cell Biology: Viral manipulation of spinal cord neurons, cell-specific transynaptic anterograde and retrograde tracings.

- Molecular Biology: Analysis of genomic expression by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), semi-quantitative analysis of protein expression in cellular culture and tissue by Western blot using chemiluminescence/photofluorescence.

- Behavior: Analysis of pain hypersensibility, food intake and locomotor activity in rats and mice, optogenetic and pharmacogenetics. 

Recent Publications:

1. Peirs C and Seal RP: Neural circuits for pain: Recent advances and current views. Science, 2016 Nov 4;354(6312):578-584. (IF = 34.7)

2. Peirs C, Bourgeois N, Artola A, Dallel R: PKCγ Interneurons Mediate C-Fiber-Induced Orofacial Secondary Static Mechanical Allodynia, but not C-Fiber-Induced Nociceptive Behavior. Anesthesiology, 2016 May 19;124(5):1136-52. (IF = 5.2)

3. Peirs C and Seal RP: Targeting Toll-like receptors to treat chronic pain. Nature Medicine, 2015 Nov 5;21(11):1251-2. (IF = 30.4)

4. Peirs C, Williams SP, Zhao X, Walsh CE, Gedeon JY, Cagle NE, Goldring AC, Hioki H, Liu Z, Marell PS, Seal RP: Dorsal Horn Circuits for Persistent Mechanical Pain. Neuron, 2015 Aug 19;87(4):797-812. (IF = 14.0)

5. Alba-Delgado C, El Khoueiry C, Peirs C, Dallel R, Artola A, Antri M: Subpopulations of PKCγ interneurons within the medullary dorsal horn revealed by electrophysiologic and morphologic approach. Pain, 2015 Sep;156(9):1714-28. (IF = 5.2)

6. Peirs C, Patil S, BoualiBenazouz R, Artola A, Landry M, Dallel R: Protein kinase C gamma interneurons in the rat medullary dorsal horn: distribution and synaptic inputs of these neurons, and subcellular localization of the enzyme. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2014 Feb 1;522(2):393-413. (IF = 3.3)

7. Miraucourt LS, Peirs C, Dallel R, Voisin DL: Glycine inhibitory dysfunction turns touch into pain through astrocyte-derived D-serine. Pain, 2011 Jun;152(6):1340-8. (IF = 5.2)

Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography: