VR1-, VRL-1- and P2X3 receptor-immunoreactive innervation of the rat temporomandibular joint

H. Ichikawa, T. Fukunaga, H. W. Jin, M. Fujita, T. Takano-Yamamoto, T. Sugimoto

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Immunohistochemistry for vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (VR1), vanilloid receptor 1-like receptor (VRL-1) and P2X3 receptor was performed in the rat temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Blood vessels in the articular disk and capsule, the synovial membrane and the fibrous tissue around the condylar process were innervated by VR1- or P2X3 receptor-immunoreactive (ir) nerve fibers. However, VRL-1-immunoreactivity (ir) could not be detected in the TMJ. Retrograde tracing and immunohistochemical methods revealed that 25%, 41% and 52% of TMJ neurons in the trigeminal ganglion (TG) exhibited VR1-, VRL-1- and P2X3 receptor-ir, respectively. VR1-ir TMJ neurons were mostly small to medium-sized, whereas VRL-1- and P2X3 receptor-ir TMJ neurons were predominantly medium-sized to large. In addition, 73%, 28% and 44% of VR1-, VRL-1- and P2X3 receptor-ir TMJ neurons, respectively, coexpressed calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-ir. The present study suggests that the TMJ has abundant nociceptors which respond to vanilloid compounds, protons, heat and extracellular ATP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 May 15


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • P2X3
  • Sensory systems
  • Somatic and visceral afferents
  • Temporomandibular joint
  • Trigeminal ganglion
  • VR1
  • VRL-1


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