Article

Voltage-clamp and current-clamp recordings from mammalian DRG neurons.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Stark Neurosciences Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Nature Protocol (Impact Factor: 8.36). 02/2009; 4(8):1103-12.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We provide here detailed electrophysiological protocols to study voltage-gated sodium channels and to investigate how wild-type and mutant channels influence firing properties of transfected mammalian dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings permit us to analyze kinetic and voltage-dependence properties of ion channels and to determine the effect and mode of action of pharmaceuticals on specific channel isoforms. They also permit us to analyze the role of individual sodium channels and their mutant derivatives in regulating firing of DRG neurons. Five to ten cells can be recorded daily, depending on the extent of analysis that is required. Because of different internal solutions that are used in voltage-clamp and current-clamp recordings, only limited information can be obtained from recording the same neuron in both modes. These electrophysiological studies help to elucidate the role of specific channels in setting threshold and suprathreshold responses of neurons, under normal and pathological conditions.

1 Bookmark
 · 
233 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mechanosensation, the transduction of mechanical force into electrochemical signals, allows organisms to detect touch and sound, to register movement and gravity, and to sense changes in cell volume and shape. The hair cells of the mammalian inner ear are the mechanosensors for the detection of sound and head movement. The analysis of gene function in hair cells has been hampered by the lack of an efficient gene transfer method. Here we describe a method termed injectoporation that combines tissue microinjection with electroporation to express cDNAs and shRNAs in mouse cochlear hair cells. Injectoporation allows for gene transfer into dozens of hair cells, and it is compatible with the analysis of hair cell function using imaging approaches and electrophysiology. Tissue dissection and injectoporation can be carried out within a few hours, and the tissue can be cultured for days for subsequent functional analyses.
    Nature Protocols 10/2014; 9(10):2438-2449. · 7.78 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pain is a frequent debilitating feature reported in peripheral neuropathies with involvement of small nerve (Aδ and C) fibers. Voltage-gated sodium channels are responsible for the generation and conduction of action potentials in the peripheral nociceptive neuronal pathway where NaV1.7, NaV1.8, and NaV1.9 sodium channels (encoded by SCN9A, SCN10A, and SCN11A) are preferentially expressed. The human genetic pain conditions inherited erythromelalgia and paroxysmal extreme pain disorder were the first to be linked to gain-of-function SCN9A mutations. Recent studies have expanded this spectrum with gain-of-function SCN9A mutations in patients with small fiber neuropathy and in a new syndrome of pain, dysautonomia, and small hands and small feet (acromesomelia). In addition, painful neuropathies have been recently linked to SCN10A mutations. Patch-clamp studies have shown that the effect of SCN9A mutations is dependent upon the cell-type background. The functional effects of a mutation in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and sympathetic neuron cells may differ per mutation, reflecting the pattern of expression of autonomic symptoms in patients with painful neuropathies who carry the mutation in question. Peripheral neuropathies may not always be length-dependent, as demonstrated in patients with initial facial and scalp pain symptoms with SCN9A mutations showing hyperexcitability in both trigeminal ganglion and DRG neurons. There is some evidence suggesting that gain-of-function SCN9A mutations can lead to degeneration of peripheral axons. This review will focus on the emerging role of sodium channelopathies in painful peripheral neuropathies, which could serve as a basis for novel therapeutic strategies.
    Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System 06/2014; 19(2). · 2.57 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The gastrointestinal (GI) tract presents a major site of immune modulation by HIV, resulting in significant morbidity. Most GI processes affected during HIV infection are regulated by the enteric nervous system. HIV has been identified in GI histologic specimens in up to 40% of patients, and the presence of viral proteins, including the trans-activator of transcription (Tat), has been reported in the gut indicating that HIV itself may be an indirect gut pathogen. Little is known of how Tat affects the enteric nervous system. Here we investigated the effects of the Tat protein on enteric neuronal excitability, proinflammatory cytokine release, and its overall effect on GI motility. Direct application of Tat (100 nm) increased the number of action potentials and reduced the threshold for action potential initiation in isolated myenteric neurons. This effect persisted in neurons pretreated with Tat for 3 d (19 of 20) and in neurons isolated from Tat(+) (Tat-expressing) transgenic mice. Tat increased sodium channel isoforms Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 levels. This increase was accompanied by an increase in sodium current density and a leftward shift in the sodium channel activation voltage. RANTES, IL-6, and IL-1β, but not TNF-α, were enhanced by Tat. Intestinal transit and cecal water content were also significantly higher in Tat(+) transgenic mice than Tat(-) littermates (controls). Together, these findings show that Tat has a direct and persistent effect on enteric neuronal excitability, and together with its effect on proinflammatory cytokines, regulates gut motility, thereby contributing to GI dysmotilities reported in HIV patients.
    Journal of Neuroscience 10/2014; 34(43):14243-51. · 6.75 Impact Factor