Immunohistochemistry for the somatostatin sst2A receptor was performed on the rat trigeminal ganglion to know its function in the trigeminal nervous system. The immunoreactivity was detected in 9.4% of primary sensory neurons in the ganglion. These neurons were small to medium-sized (range=106.5-1123.2 μm2; mean±S.D.=506.3±213.2 μm2) and predominantly located in the rostromedial part of the ophthalmo-maxillary division. They were also immunoreactive for calcitonin gene-related peptide and the vanilloid receptor subtype 1. In addition, 13.7% of trigeminal neurons which were retrogradely traced with fluorogold from the nasal mucosa exhibited sst2A receptor-immmunoreactivity. Trigeminal neurons which innervated the facial skin and tooth pulp were devoid of the immunoreactivity. In the brainstem trigeminal sensory nuclear complex, both the neuronal cell body and the neuropil exhibited sst2A receptor-immunoreactivity in the superficial medullary dorsal horn. The present study indicates that sst2A receptor-immunoreactive trigeminal nociceptors innervate the nasal mucosa. They may project to the superficial laminae of the medullary dorsal horn.
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