Electrophysiological and chemical properties in subclassified acutely dissociated cells of rat trigeminal ganglion by current signatures

J Neurophysiol. 2010 Dec;104(6):3451-61. doi: 10.1152/jn.00336.2010. Epub 2010 Jun 23.


In the present study, we subclassified acutely dissociated trigeminal ganglion (TRG) cells of rats using a current signature method in whole cell patch-clamp recordings. Using modified criteria for cell classification for the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), TRG cells were subclassified into nine cell types: 1-5, 7-9, and 13. Types 1, 3, and 7 were in the small cell groups (15-24 μm); types 4, 5, and 8-13 were in the medium cell groups (25-38 μm); and type 2 was a mixed group of both cell sizes. Types 1-3, 5, and 7 showed high-input resistance and types 1, 2, and 7 showed more depolarized resting membrane potentials. Types 1, 2, and 5-13 expressed long-duration action potentials (APs), but types 3 and 4 expressed short-duration APs. Sensitivities to capsaicin, protons, and adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) in TRG cell types largely corresponded to DRG cell types. However, different from the matched DRG types, half of TRG type 1 cells were capsaicin insensitive, showing desensitizing proton-induced currents, and types 5, 7, and 9 exhibited slow-desensitizing ATP-induced currents. Types 4, 5, and 8-13 had nicotine sensitivity, but the other cell types were insensitive. These results indicate that the "current signatures" classification is a useful means to separate TRG cells into internally homogeneous subpopulations that were distinct from other cell types. Furthermore, the data suggest some specific differences in the chemical responsiveness of some cell types between the TRG and DRG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Protons
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / cytology*
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / metabolism
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / physiology


  • Protons
  • Nicotine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Capsaicin