Brain-derived neurotrophic factor enhances the excitability of small-diameter trigeminal ganglion neurons projecting to the trigeminal nucleus interpolaris/caudalis transition zone following masseter muscle inflammation
1 Department of Physiology, School of Life Dentistry at Tokyo, Nippon Dental University, 1-9-20, Fujimi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8159, Japan
2 Research Center of Odontology, School of Life Dentistry at Tokyo, Nippon Dental University, 1-9-20, Fujimi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8159, Japan
3 Division of Oral Physiology, Department of Oral Biological Sciences, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 2-5274, Gakkocho-dori, Niigata 951-8514, Japan
Molecular Pain 2013, 9:49 doi:10.1186/1744-8069-9-49Published: 30 September 2013
The trigeminal subnuclei interpolaris/caudalis transition zones (Vi/Vc) play an important role in orofacial deep pain, however, the role of primary afferent projections to the Vi/Vc remains to be determined. This study investigated the functional significance of hyperalgesia to the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-tyrosine kinase B (trkB) signaling system in trigeminal ganglion (TRG) neurons projecting to the Vi/Vc transition zone following masseter muscle (MM) inflammation.
The escape threshold from mechanical stimulation applied to skin above the inflamed MM was significantly lower than in naïve rats. Fluorogold (FG) labeling was used to identify the TRG neurons innervating the MM, while microbeads (MB) were used to label neurons projecting to the Vi/Vc region. FG/MB-labeled TRG neurons were immunoreactive (IR) for BDNF and trkB. The mean number of BDNF/trkB-IR small/medium-diameter TRG neurons was significantly higher in inflamed rats than in naïve rats. In whole-cell current-clamp experiments, the majority of dissociated small-diameter TRG neurons showed a depolarization response to BDNF that was associated with spike discharge, and the concentration of BDNF that evoked a depolarizing response was significantly lower in the inflamed rats. In addition, the relative number of BDNF-induced spikes during current injection was significantly higher in inflamed rats. The BDNF-induced changes in TRG neuron excitability was abolished by tyrosine kinase inhibitor, K252a.
The present study provided evidence that BDNF enhances the excitability of the small-diameter TRG neurons projecting onto the Vi/Vc following MM inflammation. These findings suggest that ganglionic BDNF-trkB signaling is a therapeutic target for the treatment of trigeminal inflammatory hyperalgesia.