Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jun 5;104(23):9864-9. Epub 2007 May 24.

Neuronal somatic ATP release triggers neuron-satellite glial cell communication in dorsal root ganglia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-1069, USA.


It has been generally assumed that the cell body (soma) of a neuron, which contains the nucleus, is mainly responsible for synthesis of macromolecules and has a limited role in cell-to-cell communication. Using sniffer patch recordings, we show here that electrical stimulation of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons elicits robust vesicular ATP release from their somata. The rate of release events increases with the frequency of nerve stimulation; external Ca(2+) entry is required for the release. FM1-43 photoconversion analysis further reveals that small clear vesicles participate in exocytosis. In addition, the released ATP activates P2X7 receptors in satellite cells that enwrap each DRG neuron and triggers the communication between neuronal somata and glial cells. Blocking L-type Ca(2+) channels completely eliminates the neuron-glia communication. We further show that activation of P2X7 receptors can lead to the release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) from satellite cells. TNFalpha in turn potentiates the P2X3 receptor-mediated responses and increases the excitability of DRG neurons. This study provides strong evidence that somata of DRG neurons actively release transmitters and play a crucial role in bidirectional communication between neurons and surrounding satellite glial cells. These results also suggest that, contrary to the conventional view, neuronal somata have a significant role in cell-cell signaling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk