Veratridine produces distinct calcium response profiles in mouse Dorsal Root Ganglia neurons

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 24;7:45221. doi: 10.1038/srep45221.


Nociceptors are a subpopulation of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons that detect noxious stimuli and signal pain. Veratridine (VTD) is a voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) modifier that is used as an "agonist" in functional screens for VGSC blockers. However, there is very little information on VTD response profiles in DRG neurons and how they relate to neuronal subtypes. Here we characterised VTD-induced calcium responses in cultured mouse DRG neurons. Our data shows that the heterogeneity of VTD responses reflects distinct subpopulations of sensory neurons. About 70% of DRG neurons respond to 30-100 μM VTD. We classified VTD responses into four profiles based upon their response shape. VTD response profiles differed in their frequency of occurrence and correlated with neuronal size. Furthermore, VTD response profiles correlated with responses to the algesic markers capsaicin, AITC and α, β-methylene ATP. Since VTD response profiles integrate the action of several classes of ion channels and exchangers, they could act as functional "reporters" for the constellation of ion channels/exchangers expressed in each sensory neuron. Therefore our findings are relevant to studies and screens using VTD to activate DRG neurons.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / drug effects*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism
  • Male
  • Membrane Transport Modulators / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Nociception
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Veratridine / pharmacology*


  • Membrane Transport Modulators
  • Veratridine
  • Capsaicin