The expression of Toll-like receptor 4, 7 and co-receptors in neurochemical sub-populations of rat trigeminal ganglion sensory neurons.
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The recent discovery that mammalian nociceptors express Toll-like receptors (TLRs) has raised the possibility that these cells directly detect and respond to pathogens with implications for either direct nociceptor activation or sensitization. A range of neuronal TLRs have been identified, however a detailed description regarding the distribution of expression of these receptors within sub-populations of sensory neurons is lacking. There is also some debate as to the composition of the TLR4 receptor complex on sensory neurons. Here we use a range of techniques to quantify the expression of TLR4, TLR7 and some associated molecules within neurochemically-identified sub-populations of trigeminal (TG) and dorsal root (DRG) ganglion sensory neurons. We also detail the pattern of expression and co-expression of two isoforms of lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase (LPCAT), a phospholipid remodeling enzyme previously shown to be involved in the lipopolysaccharide-dependent TLR4 response in monocytes, within sensory ganglia. Immunohistochemistry shows that both TLR4 and TLR7 preferentially co-localize with transient receptor potential vallinoid 1 (TRPV1) and purinergic receptor P2X ligand-gated ion channel 3 (P2X3), markers of nociceptor populations, within both TG and DRG. A gene expression profile shows that TG sensory neurons express a range of TLR-associated molecules. LPCAT1 is expressed by a proportion of both nociceptors and non-nociceptive neurons. LPCAT2 immunostaining is absent from neuronal profiles within both TG and DRG and is confined to non-neuronal cell types under naïve conditions. Together, our results show that nociceptors express the molecular machinery required to directly respond to pathogenic challenge independently from the innate immune system.
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