TRPC (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily C) members are nonselective monovalent cation channels and control Ca2+ inflow. In this study, immunohistochemistry for TRPC1, TRPC3, and TRPC4 was performed on rat oral and craniofacial structures to elucidate their distribution and function in the peripheries. In the trigeminal ganglion (TG), 56.1, 84.1, and 68.3% of sensory neurons were immunoreactive (IR) for TRPC1, TRPC3, and TRPC4, respectively. A double immunofluorescence method revealed that small to medium-sized TG neurons co-expressed TRPCs and calcitonin gene-related peptide. In the superior cervical ganglion, all sympathetic neurons showed TRPC1 and TRPC3 immunoreactivity. Parasympathetic neurons in the submandibular ganglion, tongue, and parotid gland were TRPC1, TRPC3, and TRPC4 IR. Gustatory and olfactory cells were also IR for TRPC1, TRPC3, and/or TRPC4. In the musculature, motor endplates expressed TRPC1 and TRPC4 immunoreactivity. It is likely that TRPCs are associated with sensory, autonomic, and motor functions in oral and craniofacial structures.
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