PubMed 12196564

Title: The presence and role of the tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channel Na(v)1.9 (NaN) in nociceptive primary afferent neurons.

Authors: Xin Fang, Laiche Djouhri, Joel A Black, Sulayman D Dib-Hajj, Stephen G Waxman, Sally N Lawson

Journal, date & volume: J. Neurosci., 2002 Sep 1 , 22, 7425-33

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This is the first examination of sensory receptive properties and associated electrophysiological properties in vivo of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons that express the TTX-resistant sodium channel Na(v)1.9 (NaN). Intracellular recordings in lumbar DRGs in Wistar rats enabled units with dorsal root C-, Adelta-, or Aalpha/beta-fibers to be classified as nociceptive, low-threshold mechanoreceptive (LTM), or unresponsive. Intracellular dye injection enabled subsequent immunocytochemistry for Na(v)1.9-like immunoreactivity (Na(v)1.9-LI). Na(v)1.9-LI was expressed selectively in nociceptive-type (C- and A-fiber nociceptive and C-unresponsive) units. Of the nociceptive units, 64, 54, and 31% of C-, Adelta-, and Aalpha/beta-fiber units, respectively, were positive for Na(v)1.9-LI. C-unresponsive units were included in the nociceptive-type group on the basis of their nociceptor-like membrane properties; 91% were positive. Na(v)1.9-LI was undetectable in Adelta- or Aalpha/beta-fiber LTM units and in one C-LTM unit. Na(v)1.9-LI intensity was correlated negatively with soma size and conduction velocity in nociceptive units and with conduction velocity in C-fiber units. There was a positive correlation with action potential rise time in nociceptive-type units with membrane potentials equal to or more negative than -50 mV. The data provide direct evidence that Na(v)1.9 is expressed selectively in (but not in all) C- and A-fiber nociceptive-type units and suggest that Na(v)1.9 contributes to membrane properties that are typical of nociceptive neurons.