COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Differential action potentials and firing patterns in injured and uninjured small dorsal root ganglion neurons after nerve injury

Xu-Feng Zhang, Chang Z Zhu, Rama Thimmapaya, Won S Choi, Prisca Honore, Victoria E Scott, Paul E Kroeger, James P Sullivan, Connie R Faltynek, Murali Gopalakrishnan, Char-Chang Shieh
Brain Research 2004 May 29, 1009 (1): 147-58
15120592
The profile of tetrodotoxin sensitive (TTX-S) and resistant (TTX-R) Na(+) channels and their contribution to action potentials and firing patterns were studied in isolated small dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons after L5/L6 spinal nerve ligation (SNL). Total TTX-R Na(+) currents and Na(v) 1.8 mRNA were reduced in injured L5 DRG neurons 14 days after SNL. In contrast, TTX-R Na(+)currents and Na(v) 1.8 mRNA were upregulated in uninjured L4 DRG neurons after SNL. Voltage-dependent inactivation of TTX-R Na(+) channels in these neurons was shifted to hyperpolarized potentials by 4 mV. Two types of neurons were identified in injured L5 DRG neurons after SNL. Type I neurons (57%) had significantly lower threshold but exhibited normal resting membrane potential (RMP) and action potential amplitude. Type II neurons (43%) had significantly smaller action potential amplitude but retained similar RMP and threshold to those from sham rats. None of the injured neurons could generate repetitive firing. In the presence of TTX, only 26% of injured neurons could generate action potentials that had smaller amplitude, higher threshold, and higher rheobase compared with sham rats. In contrast, action potentials and firing patterns in uninjured L4 DRG neurons after SNL, in the presence or absence of TTX, were not affected. These results suggest that TTX-R Na(+) channels play important roles in regulating action potentials and firing patterns in small DRG neurons and that downregulation in injured neurons and upregulation in uninjured neurons confer differential roles in shaping electrogenesis, and perhaps pain transmission, in these neurons.

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