Many cold sensitive peripheral neurons of the mouse do not express TRPM8 or TRPA1

Clare Munns, Mona AlQatari, Martin Koltzenburg
Cell Calcium 2007, 41 (4): 331-42
Neurons of the peripheral nervous system detect changes in temperature through activation of specialised ion channels. Members of the transient receptor potential family TRPM8 and TRPA1 are candidates for the principal transducers of cold stimuli. Using ratiometric calcium imaging we now show that 19% of acutely dissociated mouse dorsal root (DRG) and 45% of superior cervical ganglia (SCG) neurons responded to a brief cold stimulus. Amongst cold-responsive DRG neurons 34+/-2% responded to the TRPM8 agonist menthol, 18+/-3% to the TRPA1 agonist mustard oil and 5% to both stimuli. A third of the cold-sensitive neurons did not respond to any TRP channel agonist. Cold-sensitive neurons of the SCG did not respond to menthol and only 3% responded to mustard oil. The threshold of SCG neurons was at significantly cooler temperatures than that of DRG neurons. Using real-time PCR, TRPA1 was expressed over 100-fold more in DRG than SCG, while TRPM8 was present in DRG only. The relatively small amount of TRPA1 transcript present in SCG did not correlate with the high level of cold sensitivity. We conclude that cold sensitivity in sympathetic neurons and in a significant proportion of sensory neurons is generated in the absence of TRPM8 and TRPA1.

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