Activation of TRPV1, TRPA1 or TRPM8 channel expressed in the central terminal of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron increases the spontaneous release of l
-glutamate onto spinal dorsal horn lamina II (substantia gelatinosa; SG) neurons which play a pivotal role in regulating nociceptive transmission. The TRP channels are activated by various plant-derived chemicals. Although stereoisomers activate or modulate ion channels in a distinct manner, this phenomenon is not fully addressed for TRP channels. By applying the whole-cell patch-clamp technique to SG neurons of adult rat spinal cord slices, we found out that all of plant-derived chemicals, carvacrol, thymol, carvone and cineole, increase the frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current, a measure of the spontaneous release of l
-glutamate from nerve terminals, by activating TRP channels. The presynaptic activities were different between stereoisomers (carvacrol and thymol; (−)-carvone and (+)-carvone; 1,8-cineole and 1,4-cineole) in the extent or the types of TRP channels activated, indicating that TRP channels in the SG are activated by stereoisomers in a distinct manner. This result could serve to know the properties of the central terminal TRP channels that are targets of drugs for alleviating pain.
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