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Front Physiol


Properties and Differential Expression of H Receptors in Dorsal Root Ganglia: Is a Labeled-Line Coding for Acid Nociception Possible?


Páez O, Segura-Chama P, Almanza A, Pellicer F, Mercado F
Front Physiol. 2021; 12:733267.
PMID: 34764880.


Pain by chemical irritants is one of the less well-described aspects of nociception. The acidic substance is the paradigm of the chemical noxious compound. An acidic insult on cutaneous, subcutaneous and muscle tissue results in pain sensation. Acid (or H) has at least two main receptor channels in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) nociceptors: the heat receptor transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and the acid-sensing ionic channels (ASICs). TRPV1 is a low-sensitivity H receptor, whereas ASIC channels display a higher H sensitivity of at least one order of magnitude. In this review, we first describe the functional and structural characteristics of these and other H-receptor candidates and the biophysics of their responses to low pH. Additionally, we compile reports of the expression of these H-receptors (and other possible complementary proteins) within the DRG and compare these data with mRNA expression profiles from single-cell sequencing datasets for ASIC3, ASIC1, transient receptor potential Ankiryn subtype 1 (TRPA1) and TRPV1. We show that few nociceptor subpopulations (discriminated by unbiased classifications) combine acid-sensitive channels. This comparative review is presented in light of the accumulating evidence for labeled-line coding for most noxious sensory stimuli.