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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jul 2021 - 30 Jul 2021

Animal Studies

2021 Jul 23


Attenuation of Sensory Transmission Through the Rat Trigeminal Ganglion by GABA Receptor Activation.


While the trigeminal ganglion is often considered a passive conduit of sensory transmission, neurons and satellite glial cells within it can release neurotransmitters and express neuroreceptors. Some trigeminal ganglion neurons contain the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and express GABA receptors. There is behavioral evidence that increased GABA levels in the trigeminal ganglion decreases nociception, while a loss of GABA receptors results in hyperalgesia, although the neural mechanisms for this remain to be investigated. In this study, the expression of GABA receptors by trigeminal ganglion neurons that innervate rat labial skin and masseter muscle was compared using immunohistochemistry. The effect of intraganglionic administration of GABA receptor agonists was investigated by single unit recording of trigeminal brainstem and ganglion neuron responses to stimulation of the labial skin and/or masseter muscle in anesthetized rats. The mean frequency of expression of GABA and GABA receptors by masseter and labial skin ganglion neurons was 62.5% and 92.7%, and 55.4% and 20.3%, respectively. The expression of both GABA receptors was significantly greater in skin ganglion neurons. Masticatory muscle evoked brainstem trigeminal neuron responses were significantly attenuated by intraganglionic injection of muscimol (GABA) but not baclofen (GABA). The mechanical sensitivity of slow and fast conducting masticatory muscle afferent fibers was decreased and increased, respectively, by intraganglionic injection of both muscimol and baclofen. Activation of GABA receptors may exert a gating effect on sensory transmission through the trigeminal ganglion by decreasing putative nociceptive input and enhancing innocuous sensory input.