In the spinal nervous system, the expression of galanin (GAL) and galanin receptors (GALRs) that play important roles in the transmission and modulation of nociceptive information can be affected by nerve injury. However, in the trigeminal nervous system, the effects of trigeminal nerve injury on the expression of GAL are controversy in the previous studies. Besides, little is known about the effects of trigeminal nerve injury on the expression of GALRs. In the present study, the effects of trigeminal nerve injury on the expression of GAL and GALRs in the rat trigeminal ganglion (TG) were investigated by using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. To identify the nerve-injured and nerve-uninjured TG neurons, activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3, the nerve-injured neuron marker) was stained by immunofluorescence. The levels of GAL mRNA in the rostral half and caudal half of the TG dramatically increased after transection of infraorbital nerve (ION) and inferior alveolar nerve (IAN), respectively. Immunohistochemical labeling of GAL and ATF3 revealed that GAL level was elevated in both injured and adjacent uninjured small and medium-sized TG neurons after ION/IAN transection. In addition, the levels of GAL2R-like immunoreactivity were reduced in both injured and adjacent uninjured TG neurons after ION/IAN transection, while levels of GAL1R and GAL3R-like immunoreactivity remained unchanged. Furthermore, the number of small to medium-sized TG neurons co-expressing GAL- and GAL1R/GAL2R/GAL3R-like immunoreactivity was significantly increased after ION/IAN transection. In line with previous studies in other spinal neuron systems, these results suggest that GAL and GALRs play functional roles in orofacial neuropathic pain and trigeminal nerve regeneration after trigeminal nerve injury.
- Galanin receptor
- Nerve injury
- Neuropathic pain
- Trigeminal ganglion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience