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Brain Res. 2006 Aug 2;1102(1):78-85. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Activation and sensitization of C and Adelta afferent fibers mediated by P2X receptors in rat dorsal skin.

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Key Laboratory of Environment and Genes Related to Diseases (Xi'an Jiaotong University), Ministry of Education, Xi'an, Shaanxi, PR China.


The present study investigated the activation and sensitization effects of local injection of P2X receptor agonist alpha,beta-methylene ATP (alphabeta-meATP) into the receptive fields of afferent fibers innervating dorsal hairy skin in anesthetized rats. Single unit activities of afferent fibers were recorded by means of isolation of the fiber filaments from the dorsal cutaneous nerve branch. A total of 237 fibers were obtained. Of these, 67 were classed as C fibers, 104 as Adelta fibers and 66 as Abeta fibers. When alphabeta-meATP (0.1-100 microM, 10 microl) was injected subcutaneously into the receptive fields of these units, C and Adelta fibers demonstrated a dose-related increase in the discharge rates of the response. The activated proportion of C and Adelta fibers with a response to the drug also increased with dose. However, Abeta fibers did not exhibit significant activation. Furthermore, injection of alphabeta-meATP (10 microl) at a concentration of 100 microM resulted in a significant decrease of mechanical thresholds in C and Adelta fibers compared with pre-injection baseline (P < 0.05). In control experiments, injection of the vehicle phosphate-buffered saline (PBS, 10 microl) had no effect on all units tested. alphabeta-meATP (100 microM, 10 microl) followed by pyridoxal phosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-disulfonic acid (PPADS), a P2X receptor antagonist, successfully blocked the activation and sensitization effects of alphabeta-meATP on C and Adelta fibers tested. These results suggest that peripheral P2X receptors are involved in mediating peripheral excitation of C and Adelta fibers.

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