A subpopulation of capsaicin-sensitive porcine dorsal root ganglion neurons is lacking hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels

Otilia Obreja, Andreas Klusch, Norbert Ponelies, Martin Schmelz, Marlen Petersen
European Journal of Pain: EJP 2008, 12 (6): 775-89
Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels contribute to stabilizing resting membrane potential, thus controlling neuron excitability. Subclasses of nociceptive neurons differ in their excitability, therefore, these channels could be a distinguishing marker. We investigated isolated dorsal root ganglion neurons from a non-rodent species, the pig, Sus scrofa domesticus. Single labeling revealed capsaicin-induced cobalt-uptake in 54.3% and transient receptor potential V1 (TRPV1) immunoreactivity in 55.1% of all neurons. Ruthenium red and capsazepine suppressed capsaicin-induced cobalt-uptake. HCN-1 and HCN-2 channel isoform immunoreactivity was detected in 82.6% and 88.3%, respectively, and binding of IB4 in 29.4% of all neurons. Double labeling revealed that out of the capsaicin-positive neurons, 42.3% were IB4-positive, 80.0% immunoreactive for the HCN-1, and 77.3% for the HCN-2 channel isoform, respectively. Neurons lacking HCN-1 or HCN-2 channel isoforms were mostly capsaicin-positive and IB4-negative. The soma size of neurons lacking HCN-1 and/or HCN-2 channels was small to medium. Western blot analysis showed protein products of sizes similar to those of HCN-1 and HCN-2 channel isoforms. Functionally, in patch-clamp experiments, some neurons were unresponsive to membrane hyperpolarization, thus, probably lacking HCN channels. In conclusion, in porcine dorsal root ganglion neurons there is a subset of capsaicin-positive, IB4-negative neurons lacking HCN-1 and/or HCN-2 channel isoforms.

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