The co-expression of osteocalcin (OC) with the capsaicin receptor (VR1) and vanilloid receptor 1-like receptor (VRL-1) was examined in the dorsal root (DRG) and trigeminal ganglia (TG). Virtually all OC-immunoreactive (ir) DRG neurons were devoid of VR1- and VRL-1-immunoreactivity (ir). In the TG, 14.1% of OC-ir neurons were also immunoreactive for VR1. Only 1.7% of OC-ir TG neurons co-expressed VRL-1-ir. The distribution of OC-ir was also examined in the spinal cord and trigeminal sensory nuclei. In the spinal cord, the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn were devoid of OC-ir. The neuropil was weakly stained in other regions of the spinal horns. The medullary dorsal horn (MDH) contained numerous OC-ir varicose fibers in laminae I and II. These fibers were occasionally observed originating from the spinal trigeminal tract. The neuropil was weakly stained in deeper laminae of the MDH, and the rostral parts of the trigeminal sensory nuclei. The present study suggests that OC-ir TG nociceptors send their unmyelinated axons to the superficial laminae of the MDH.
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