Expression of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) in the rat trigeminal sensory afferents and spinal dorsal horn.J Comp Neurol. 2010 Mar 01; 518(5):687-98.JC
Transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), responding to noxious cold and pungent compounds, is implicated in the mediation of nociception, but little is known about the processing of the TRPA1-mediated nociceptive information within the trigeminal sensory nuclei (TSN) and the spinal dorsal horn (DH). To address this issue, we characterized the TRPA1-positive (+) neurons in the trigeminal ganglion (TG) and investigated the distribution of TRPA1(+) afferent fibers and their synaptic connectivity within the rat TSN and DH by using light and electron microscopic immunohistochemistry. In the TG, TRPA1 was expressed in unmyelinated and small myelinated axons and also occasionally in large myelinated axons. Many TRPA1(+) neurons costained for the marker for peptidergic neurons substance P (26.8%) or the marker for nonpeptidergic neurons IB4 (44.5%). In the CNS, small numbers of axons and terminals were immunopositive for TRPA1 throughout the rostral TSN, in contrast to the dense network of positive fibers and terminals in the superficial laminae of the trigeminal caudal nucleus (Vc) and DH. The TRPA1(+) terminals contained clear round vesicles, were presynaptic to one or two dendrites, and rarely participated in axoaxonic contacts, suggesting involvement in relatively simple synaptic circuitry with a small degree of synaptic divergence and little presynaptic modulation. Immunoreactivity for TRPA1 was also occasionally observed in postsynaptic dendrites. These results suggest that TRPA1-dependent orofacial and spinal nociceptive input is processed mainly in the superficial laminae of the Vc and DH in a specific manner and may be processed differently between the rostral TSN and Vc.