Peripheral tissue inflammation or injury causes glutamate release from nociceptive axons, keratinocytes, and Schwann cells, resulting in thermal hypersensitivity. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying glutamate-induced thermal hypersensitivity are unknown. The aim of this study was to clarify the involvement of peripheral transient receptor potential (TRP) TRP vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), TRP ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), and protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) in glutamate-induced pain hypersensitivity. The amount of glutamate in the facial tissue was significantly increased 3 days after facial Complete Freund's adjuvant injection. The head-withdrawal reflex threshold to heat, cold, or mechanical stimulation was significantly decreased on day 7 after continuous glutamate or metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) agonist (CHPG) injection into the facial skin compared with vehicle-injected rats, and glutamate-induced hypersensitivity was significantly recovered by mGluR5 antagonist MTEP, TRPA1 antagonist HC-030031, TRPV1 antagonist SB366791, or PKCε translocation inhibitor administration into the facial skin. TRPV1 and TRPA1 were expressed in mGluR5-immunoreactive (IR) trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons innervating the facial skin, and mGluR5-IR TG neurons expressed PKCε. There was no significant difference in the number of GluR5-IR TG neurons among glutamate-injected, saline-injected, and naive rats, whereas that of TRPV1- or TRPA1-IR TG neurons was significantly increased 7 days after continuous glutamate injection into the facial skin compared with vehicle injection. PKCε phosphorylation in TG was significantly enhanced following glutamate injection into the facial skin. Moreover, neuronal activity of TG neurons was significantly increased following facial glutamate treatment. The present findings suggest that sensitization of TRPA1 and/or TRPV1 through mGluR5 signaling via PKCε is involved in facial thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity.
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