Molecular neurobiology

Postnatal Excitability Development and Innervation by Functional Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) Terminals in Neurons of the Rat Spinal Sacral Dorsal Commissural Nucleus: an Electrophysiological Study.

PMID 26526845


The sacral dorsal commissural nucleus (SDCN) in the spinal cord receives both somatic and visceral primary afferents. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channels are preferentially expressed in certain fine primary afferents. However, knowledge of the SDCN neurons postnatal excitability development and their contacts with TRPV1 fibers remains elusive. Here, whole-cell recordings were conducted in spinal cord slices to evaluate the postnatal development of SDCN neurons and their possible contacts with functional TRPV1-expressing terminals. SDCN neurons in neonatal (postnatal day (P) 1-2), young (P8-10), and adult rats (P35-40) have different electrophysiological properties. SDCN neurons in neonatal rats have higher frequency of spontaneous firing, higher resting membrane potential, and lower presynaptic glutamate release probability. However, no difference in quantal release was found. At all developmental stages, TRPV1 activation with the selective agonist capsaicin increases glutamate release in the presence of tetrodotoxin, which blocks action potential-dependent and polysynaptic neurotransmission, indicating that functional TRPV1 fibers innervate SDCN neurons directly. Capsaicin-induced presynaptic glutamate release onto SDCN neurons depends on external Ca(2+) influx through TRPV1 channels; voltage-dependent calcium channels had a slighter impact. In contrast, capsaicin blocked C fiber-evoked synaptic transmission, indicating that TRPV1 activation has opposite effects on spontaneous asynchronous and action potential-dependent synchronous glutamate release. These data indicate that excitability of SDCN neurons undergoes a developmental shift, and these neurons receive functional TRPV1 terminals from early postnatal stage. The opposite action of capsaicin on asynchronous and synchronous glutamate release should be taken into account when TRPV1 channels are considered as therapeutic targets.

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Capsazepine, ≥98% (HPLC), solid