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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Feb;298(2):G212-21. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00396.2009. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Expression of transient receptor potential channels and two-pore potassium channels in subtypes of vagal afferent neurons in rat.

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Program in Neuroscience, Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, WashingtonState University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.


Vagal afferent neurons relay important information regarding the control of the gastrointestinal system. However, the ionic mechanisms that underlie vagal activation induced by sensory inputs are not completely understood. We postulate that transient receptor potential (TRP) channels and/or two-pore potassium (K2p) channels are targets for activating vagal afferents. In this study we explored the distribution of these channels in vagal afferents by quantitative PCR after a capsaicin treatment to eliminate capsaicin-sensitive neurons, and by single-cell PCR measurements in vagal afferent neurons cultured after retrograde labeling from the stomach or duodenum. We found that TRPC1/3/5/6, TRPV1-4, TRPM8, TRPA1, TWIK2, TRAAK, TREK1, and TASK1/2 were all present in rat nodose ganglia. Both lesion results and single-cell PCR results suggested that TRPA1 and TRPC1 were preferentially expressed in neurons that were either capsaicin sensitive or TRPV1 positive. Expression of TRPM8 varied dynamically after various manipulations, which perhaps explains the disparate results obtained by different investigators. Last, we also examined ion channel distribution with the A-type CCK receptor (CCK-R(A)) and found there was a significant preference for neurons that express TRAAK to also express CCK-R(A), especially in gut-innervating neurons. These findings, combined with findings from prior studies, demonstrated that background conductances such as TRPC1, TRPA1, and TRAAK are indeed differentially distributed in the nodose ganglia, and not only do they segregate with specific markers, but the degree of overlap is also dependent on the innervation target.

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