Activation of central terminal vanilloid receptor-1 receptors and alpha beta-methylene-ATP-sensitive P2X receptors reveals a converged synaptic activity onto the deep dorsal horn neurons of the spinal cord.J Neurosci 2002; 22(4):1228-37JN
Using a spinal cord slice preparation and patch-clamp recordings from spinal cord dorsal horn neurons, we examined excitatory and inhibitory circuits connecting to lamina V neurons after the activation of afferent central terminal vanilloid receptor-1 (VR1) receptors and P2X receptors. We found that single neurons in lamina V often received excitatory inputs from two chemically defined afferent pathways. One of these pathways was polysynaptic from capsaicin-sensitive afferent terminals. In this pathway the capsaicin-sensitive afferent input first activated interneurons in superficial laminas, and then the excitatory activity was transmitted onto lamina V neurons. The second excitatory input was monosynaptic from alpha(beta)m-ATP-sensitive/capsaicin-insensitive afferent terminals. Both capsaicin-sensitive and alpha(beta)m-ATP-sensitive/capsaicin-insensitive pathways also recruited polysynaptic inhibitory inputs to lamina V neurons. Furthermore, we demonstrated that simultaneous activation of both capsaicin-sensitive afferent pathways and alpha(beta)m-ATP-sensitive/capsaicin-insensitive pathways could generate a temporal summation of excitatory inputs onto single lamina V neurons. These convergent pathways may provide a mechanism of sensory integration for two chemically defined sensory inputs and may have implications in different sensory states.