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Pain. 1997 Nov;73(2):141-9.

Trigeminal ganglion neuronal activity and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity after inferior alveolar nerve crush in the adult rat.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-6540, USA.


Nerve injury to the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve has been shown to cause satellite cell reactions that extend beyond the mandibular division of the trigeminal ganglion into the maxillary and ophthalmic divisions. The goal of this study was to determine whether any physiological abnormalities correlated with this dispersal of satellite cell reaction. We investigated the electrophysiological and satellite cell glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity (GFAP-IR) changes that occur within the trigeminal ganglion 3, 10 and 59 days after a crush injury of the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN). At 3 days after IAN crush, there were no mechanically-evoked responses to ipsilateral stimulation of the skin and intraoral structures (e.g., mandibular incisor, lower lip and rostral mandibular gingiva) innervated by the IAN. However, the peripheral representations of the auriculotemporal, mylohyoid, lingual and maxillary nerve were intact and no abnormal responses to mechanical stimulation were detected to stimulation of tissue innervated by these nerves. By 10 days after the IAN crush, mandibular neurons responded to mechanical and electrical stimuli of the peripheral receptive field of the IAN, but with slower conduction velocities and higher electrical thresholds compared to control values. These abnormal electrophysiological response characteristics persisted 59 days following nerve injury. At 3, 10 and 59 days after IAN crush, 3-4% of the recorded mandibular neurons displayed spontaneous activity that was never observed in rats without nerve injury. Spontaneous activity was also never observed in neurons recorded in the maxillary or ophthalmic divisions of the trigeminal ganglion. Intense GFAP-IR in satellite cells was observed surrounding a mean of 131.7 neurons/section within the mandibular division of the trigeminal ganglion 3 days after nerve injury and around 50.3 neurons/section at 10 days. GFAP-IR was also present surrounding 16.5 and 10.3 neurons/section in the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve at 3 and 10 days, respectively. At 59 days after IAN crush, GFAP-IR satellite cells were found around 22.9 neurons/section in the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, but were not found elsewhere in the trigeminal ganglion. The more extensive distribution of neurons encircled by satellite cell GFAP-IR compared to the trigeminal ganglion region containing abnormal electrophysiological responses demonstrates that abnormal neuronal signaling may not be characteristic of trigeminal ganglion neurons that are surrounded by GFAP injury reactions. However, the persistence of GFAP-IR 59 days after nerve injury suggests that satellite cell GFAP is involved in the long-term recovery of injured neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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