JOURNAL ARTICLE

Activation of TRPA1 channel facilitates excitatory synaptic transmission in substantia gelatinosa neurons of the adult rat spinal cord

Masafumi Kosugi, Terumasa Nakatsuka, Tsugumi Fujita, Yasuo Kuroda, Eiichi Kumamoto
Journal of Neuroscience 2007 April 18, 27 (16): 4443-51
17442829
TRPA1 is expressed in primary sensory neurons and hair cells, and it is proposed to be activated by cold stimuli, mechanical stimuli, or pungent ingredients. However, its role in regulating synaptic transmission has never been documented yet. In the present study, we examined whether activation of the TRPA1 channels affects synaptic transmission in substantia gelatinosa (SG) neurons of adult rat spinal cord slices by using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. A chief ingredient of mustard oil, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), superfused for 2 min markedly increased the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs (sEPSCs), which was accompanied by an inward current. Similar actions were produced by cinnamaldehyde and allicin. The AITC-induced increases in sEPSC frequency and amplitude were resistant to tetrodotoxin (TTX) and La3+, whereas being significantly reduced in extent in a Ca2+-free bath solution. In the presence of glutamate receptor antagonists CNQX and AP5, AITC did not generate any synaptic activities. The AITC-induced increases in sEPSC frequency and amplitude were reduced by ruthenium red, whereas being unaffected by capsazepine. AITC also increased the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents; this AITC action was abolished in the presence of TTX or glutamate receptor antagonists. These results indicate that TRPA1 appears to be localized not only at presynaptic terminals on SG neurons to enhance glutamate release, but also in terminals of primary afferents innervating onto spinal inhibitory interneurons, which make synapses with SG neurons. This central modulation of sensory signals may be associated with physiological and pathological pain sensations.

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