Differential Expression of Connexins in Trigeminal Ganglion Neurons and Satellite Glial Cells in Response to Acute or Chronic Joint Inflammation


Trigeminal nerve activation in response to inflammatory stimuli has been shown to increase neuron-glia communication via gap junctions in trigeminal ganglion. The goal of this study was to identify changes in the expression of gap junction proteins, connexins (Cxs), in trigeminal ganglia in response to acute or chronic joint inflammation. Although mRNA for Cxs 26, 36, 40 and 43 was detected under basal conditions, protein expression of only Cxs 26, 36 and 40 increased following capsaicin or complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) injection into the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). While Cx26 plaque formation between neurons and satellite glia was transiently increased following capsaicin injections, Cx26 plaque formation between neurons and satellite glia was sustained in response to CFA. Interestingly, levels of Cx36 and Cx40 were only elevated in neurons following capsaicin or CFA injections, but the temporal response was similar to that observed for Cx26. In contrast, Cx43 expression was not increased in neurons or satellite glial cells in response to CFA or capsaicin. Thus, trigeminal ganglion neurons and satellite glia can differentially regulate Cx expression in response to the type and duration of inflammatory stimuli, which likely facilitates increased neuron-glia communication during acute and chronic inflammation and pain in the TMJ.



Document Type





capsaicin, complete Freund's adjuvant, gap junctions, hemichannels, temporomandibular joint disorders

Publication Date


Journal Title

Neuron glia biology