Activation of rat masticatory muscle afferent fibres by acidic pH

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Abstract

Previous research findings have suggested an important role for acid sensing ion channels (ASICs) in muscle pain mechanisms. This study was conducted to determine if masticatory muscle afferent fibres express ASICs, if there are sex differences in this expression, and to compare the effects of low pH and hypertonic saline on afferent fibres that innervate the masticatory muscle in vivo. Immunohistochemistry methods were applied to examine the expression of ASICs in trigeminal ganglion neurons, while in vivo electrophysiology techniques were employed to examine changes in masticatory muscle afferent fibre excitability. Both ASIC1 and ASIC3 were expressed by predominantly larger masticatory muscle ganglion neurons, but the frequency of ASIC3 expression (56%) was significantly greater than ASIC1 (35%). No sex-related differences in expression were identified. Injection of pH 5.8, but not pH 6.8, phosphate buffered saline evoked afferent discharges that were significantly greater than those evoked by pH 7.4 buffer (control). Since ASIC3 channels are not activated until the pH is around 6, these results indicate that activation of both channels contributes to excitation of masticatory muscle afferent fibres. The results further show that many masticatory muscle afferent fibres, which respond to low pH, are low threshold mechanoreceptors. These findings may explain why injection of low pH solutions into the masticatory muscles of healthy humans is not associated with significant muscle pain.

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Previous research findings have suggested an important role for acid sensing ion channels (ASICs) in muscle pain mechanisms. This study was conducted to determine if masticatory muscle afferent fibres express ASICs, if there are sex differences in this expression, and to compare the effects of low pH and hypertonic saline on afferent fibres that innervate the masticatory muscle in vivo. Immunohistochemistry methods were applied to examine the expression of ASICs in trigeminal ganglion neurons, while in vivo electrophysiology techniques were employed to examine changes in masticatory muscle afferent fibre excitability. Both ASIC1 and ASIC3 were expressed by predominantly larger masticatory muscle ganglion neurons, but the frequency of ASIC3 expression (56%) was significantly greater than ASIC1 (35%). No sex-related differences in expression were identified. Injection of pH 5.8, but not pH 6.8, phosphate buffered saline evoked afferent discharges that were significantly greater than those evoked by pH 7.4 buffer (control). Since ASIC3 channels are not activated until the pH is around 6, these results indicate that activation of both channels contributes to excitation of masticatory muscle afferent fibres. The results further show that many masticatory muscle afferent fibres, which respond to low pH, are low threshold mechanoreceptors. These findings may explain why injection of low pH solutions into the masticatory muscles of healthy humans is not associated with significant muscle pain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSomatosensory and Motor Research
Volume35
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
ISSN0899-0220
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

    Research areas

  • Acid sensing ion channel, hypertonic saline, immunohistochemistry, masticatory muscle, nociceptor
ID: 280198336