Enhanced excitability of rat trigeminal root ganglion neurons via decrease in A-type potassium currents following temporomandibular joint inflammation

Neuroscience. 2006;138(2):621-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.11.024. Epub 2006 Jan 4.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of temporomandibular joint inflammation on the excitability of trigeminal root ganglion neurons innervating the temporomandibular joint using a perforated patch-clamp technique. Inflammation was induced by injection of complete Freund's adjuvant into the rat temporomandibular joint. The threshold for escape from mechanical stimulation in the temporomandibular joint-inflamed rats was significantly lower than that in control rats. Fluorogold labeling was used to identify the trigeminal root ganglion neurons innervating the site of inflammation. When voltage-clamp (V(h)=-60 mV) conditions were applied to these Fluorogold-labeled small diameter trigeminal root ganglion neurons (<30 mum), voltage-dependent transient K(+) current densities were significantly reduced in the inflamed rats compared with controls. In addition, the voltage-dependence of inactivation of the voltage-dependent transient K(+) current was negatively shifted in the labeled temporomandibular joint-inflamed trigeminal root ganglion neurons. Furthermore, temporomandibular joint inflammation significantly reduced the threshold current and significantly increased action potential firings evoked at two-fold threshold in the Fluorogold-labeled small trigeminal root ganglion neurons. Application of 4-aminopyridine (0.5mM) to control trigeminal root ganglion neurons mimicked the changes in the firing properties observed after complete Freund's adjuvant treatment. Together, these results suggest that temporomandibular joint inflammation increases the excitability of trigeminal root ganglion neurons innervating temporomandibular joint by suppressing voltage-dependent transient K(+) current via a leftward shift in the inactivation curve. These changes may contribute to trigeminal inflammatory allodynia in temporomandibular joint disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reference Values
  • Temporomandibular Joint / drug effects
  • Temporomandibular Joint / innervation*
  • Temporomandibular Joint / physiopathology
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / physiology*


  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium Channels
  • 4-Aminopyridine