Changes in the expression of tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium channels within dorsal root ganglia neurons in inflammatory pain

Joel A Black, Shujun Liu, Masaki Tanaka, Theodore R Cummins, Stephen G Waxman
Pain 2004, 108 (3): 237-47
Nociceptive neurons within dorsal root ganglia (DRG) express multiple voltage-gated sodium channels, of which the tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) channel Na(v)1.8 has been suggested to play a major role in inflammatory pain. Previous work has shown that acute administration of inflammatory mediators, including prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), serotonin, and adenosine, modulates TTX-R current in DRG neurons, producing increased current amplitude and a hyperpolarizing shift of its activation curve. In addition, 4 days following injection of carrageenan into the hind paw, an established model of inflammatory pain, Na(v)1.8 mRNA and slowly-inactivating TTX-R current are increased in DRG neurons projecting to the affected paw. In the present study, the expression of sodium channels Na(v)1.1-Na(v)1.9 in small (< or = 25 micromdiameter) DRG neurons was examined with in situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry, Western blot and whole-cell patch-clamp methods following carrageenan injection into the peripheral projection fields of these cells. The results demonstrate that, following carrageenan injection, there is increased expression of TTX-S channels Na(v)1.3 and Na(v)1.7 and a parallel increase in TTX-S currents. The previously reported upregulation of Na(v)1.8 and slowly-inactivating TTX-R current is not accompanied by upregulation of mRNA or protein for Na(v)1.9, an additional TTX-R channel that is expressed in some DRG neurons. These observations demonstrate that chronic inflammation results in an upregulation in the expression of both TTX-S and TTX-R sodium channels, and suggest that TTX-S sodium channels may also contribute, at least in part, to pain associated with inflammation.

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