Spatio-temporal expression and functional involvement of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 in diabetic mechanical allodynia in rats

Yuan-Yuan Cui, Hao Xu, Huang-Hui Wu, Jian Qi, Juan Shi, Yun-Qing Li
PloS One 2014, 9 (7): e102052
Diabetic neuropathic pain (DNP) is one of the most common clinical manifestations of diabetes mellitus (DM), which is characterized by prominent mechanical allodynia (DMA). However, the molecular mechanism underlying it has not fully been elucidated. In this study, we examined the spatio-temporal expression of a major nociceptive channel protein transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and analyzed its functional involvement by intrathecal (i.t.) application of TRPV1 antagonists in streptozocin (STZ)-induced DMA rat models. Western blot and immunofluorescent staining results showed that TRPV1 protein level was significantly increased in the soma of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons on 14 days after STZ treatment (DMA 14 d), whereas those in spinal cord and skin (mainly from the central and peripheral processes of DRG neurons) had already been enhanced on DMA 7 d to peak on DMA 14 d. qRT-PCR experiments confirmed that TRPV1 mRNA level was significantly up-regulated in the DRG on DMA 7 d, indicating a preceding translation of TRPV1 protein in the soma but preferential distribution of this protein to the processes under the DMA conditions. Cell counting assay based on double immunostaining suggested that increased TRPV1-immunoreactive neurons were likely to be small-sized and CGRP-ergic. Finally, single or multiple intrathecal applications of non-specific or specific TRPV1 antagonists, ruthenium red and capsazepine, at varying doses, effectively alleviated DMA, although the effect of the former was more prominent and long-lasting. These results collectively indicate that TRPV1 expression dynamically changes during the development of DMA and this protein may play important roles in mechanical nociception in DRG neurons, presumably through facilitating the release of CGRP.

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