Disparate changes in the expression of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 receptor mRNA and protein in dorsal root ganglion neurons following local capsaicin treatment of the sciatic nerve in the rat

C. Szigeti, P. Sántha, E. Körtvély, T. Nyári, V. J. Horváth, É Deák, M. Dux, K. Gulya, G. Jancsó

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In situ hybridization, quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, and Western blot analysis were applied to study the changes in expression of the major nociceptive ion channel transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 receptor (TRPV1) after the perineural application of capsaicin or nerve transection. In control rats, quantitative morphometric and statistical analyses of TRPV1 protein and mRNA expression in L5 dorsal root ganglion cells revealed distinct populations of small (type C) and small-to-medium (type B) neurons, which showed very high and moderate levels of TRPV1, whereas larger (type A) neurons mostly did not express this receptor. After either transection or capsaicin treatment of the sciatic nerve, immunohistochemistry and Western blotting demonstrated a massive (up to 80%) decrease in the proportion of TRPV1-immunoreactive neurons and TRPV1 protein at all postoperative survival times. In situ hybridization indicated marked decreases (up to 85%) in the proportion of neurons that expressed TRPV1 mRNA after sciatic nerve transection. In contrast, although perineural treatment with capsaicin resulted in similar substantial decreases in the proportions of type B and C neurons of the L5 dorsal root ganglia 3 days postoperatively, a clear-cut tendency to recovery was observed thereafter. Hence, the proportions of both type B and C neurons expressing TRPV1 mRNA reached up to 70% of the control levels at 30 days postoperatively. In accord with these findings, quantitative RT-PCR revealed a marked and significant recovery in TRPV1 mRNA after perineural capsaicin but not after nerve transection. These observations suggest the involvement of distinct cellular mechanisms in the regulation of the TRPV1 mRNA expression of damaged neurons, specifically triggered by the nature of the injury. The present findings imply that the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of perineurally applied capsaicin involve distinct changes in neuronal TRPV1 mRNA expression and long-lasting alterations in (post)translational regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-330
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 10 2012



  • Capsaicin
  • In situ hybridization
  • Nerve transection
  • Pain
  • Perineural
  • TRPV1 mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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