Vanilloid receptor 1-like receptor-immunoreactive primary sensory neurons in the rat trigeminal nervous system

H. Ichikawa, T. Sugimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Immunohistochemistry for vanilloid receptor 1-like receptor (VRL-1), a candidate transducer for high-threshold noxious heat, was performed on rat trigeminal primary sensory neurons. The immunoreactivity was detected in 14% of the trigeminal ganglion cell bodies, while the neurons in the mesencephalic trigeminal tract nucleus were almost devoid of it (0.5%). The immunoreactive neurons in the trigeminal ganglion were mostly of medium to large size (mean±S.D. of 956±376μm2). Nerve bundles in the tooth pulp, periodontal ligament, facial skin and oral mucosa contained VRL-1-positive smooth nerve fibers. The immunoreactivity could not be traced to the isolated nerve fibers, except in the tooth pulp. In the brainstem trigeminal nuclear complex, a notable concentration of the immunoreactivity was seen in laminae I and II of the medullary dorsal horn. Thirty-seven per cent of the trigeminal ganglion neurons retrogradely labeled from the tooth pulp exhibited VRL-1 immunoreactivity, while the immunoreactivity was detected in only 9% of those labeled from the skin. Co-expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide was common among the VRL-1-immunoreactive tooth pulp neurons (45%) and cutaneous neurons (25%). Moreover, as many as 41% of the VRL-1-immunoreactive tooth pulp neurons co-expressed parvalbumin immunoreactivity. Parvalbumin immunoreactivity was never detected in the VRL-1-immunoreactive cutaneous neurons.From the findings of the present study, we propose that large primary neurons responding to high-threshold noxious heat are abundant in the tooth pulp, but not in the facial skin. Copyright (C) 2000 IBRO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-725
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2000


  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • Parvalbumin
  • Skin
  • Tooth pulp
  • Trigeminal ganglion
  • VRL-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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