Nitric oxide-proton stimulation of trigeminal ganglion neurons increases mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatase expression in neurons and satellite glial cells


Elevated nitric oxide (NO) and proton levels in synovial fluid are implicated in joint pathology. However, signaling pathways stimulated by these molecules that mediate inflammation and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) have not been investigated. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of NO-proton stimulation of rat trigeminal neurons on the in vivo expression of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and phosphatases (MKPs) in trigeminal ganglion neurons and satellite glial cells. Low levels of the active MAPKs extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38 were localized in the cytosol of neurons and satellite glial cells in unstimulated animals. However, increased levels of active ERK and p38, but not JNK, were detected in the cytosol and nucleus of V3 neurons and satellite glial cells 15 min and 2 h following bilateral TMJ injections of an NO donor diluted in pH 5.5 medium. While ERK levels returned to near basal levels 24 h after stimulation, p38 levels remained significantly elevated. In contrast to MKP-2 and MKP-3 levels that were barely detectable in neurons or satellite glial cells, MKP-1 staining was readily observed in satellite glial cells in ganglia from unstimulated animals. However, neuronal and satellite glial cell staining for MKP-1, MKP-2, and MKP-3 was significantly increased in response to NO-protons. Increased active ERK and p38 levels as well as elevated MKP levels were also detected in neurons and satellite glial cells located in V2 and V1 regions of the ganglion. Our data provide evidence that NO-proton stimulation of V3 neurons results in temporal and spatial changes in expression of active ERK and p38 and MKPs in all regions of the ganglion. We propose that in trigeminal ganglia these cellular events, which are involved in peripheral sensitization as well as control of inflammatory and nociceptive responses, may play a role in TMJ pathology.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

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glia, MAP kinase, MAP kinase phosphatase, nitric oxide, protons, trigeminal ganglion neurons

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