Key points: The action potential initiation in the nerve terminals and its subsequent conduction along the axons of afferent nerves are not necessarily dependent on the same voltage-gated sodium channel (Na V 1) subunits. The action potential initiation in jugular C-fibres within airway tissues is not blocked by TTX; nonetheless, conduction of action potentials along the vagal axons of these nerves is often dependent on TTX-sensitive channels. This is not the case for nodose airway Aδ-fibres and C-fibres, where both action potential initiation and conduction is abolished by TTX or selective Na V 1.7 blockers. The difference between the initiation of action potentials within the airways vs. conduction along the axons should be considered when developing Na V 1 blocking drugs for topical application to the respiratory tract. Abstract: The action potential (AP) initiation in the nerve terminals and its subsequent AP conduction along the axons do not necessarily depend on the same subtypes of voltage-gated sodium channels (Na V 1s). We evaluated the role of TTX-sensitive and TTX-resistant Na V 1s in vagal afferent nociceptor nerves derived from jugular and nodose ganglia innervating the respiratory system. Single cell RT-PCR was performed on vagal afferent neurons retrogradely labelled from the guinea pig trachea. Almost all of the jugular neurons expressed the TTX-sensitive channel Na V 1.7 along with TTX-resistant Na V 1.8 and Na V 1.9. Tracheal nodose neurons also expressed Na V 1.7 but, less frequently, Na V 1.8 and Na V 1.9. Na V 1.6 were expressed in ∼40% of the jugular and 25% of nodose tracheal neurons. Other Na V 1 α subunits were only rarely expressed. Single fibre recordings were made from the vagal nodose and jugular nerve fibres innervating the trachea or lung in the isolated perfused vagally-innervated preparations that allowed for selective drug delivery to the nerve terminal compartment (AP initiation) or to the desheathed vagus nerve (AP conduction). AP initiation in jugular C-fibres was unaffected by TTX, although it was inhibited by Na V 1.8 blocker (PF-01247324) and abolished by combination of TTX and PF-01247324. However, AP conduction in the majority of jugular C-fibres was abolished by TTX. By contrast, both AP initiation and conduction in nodose nociceptors was abolished by TTX or selective Na V 1.7 blockers. Distinction between the effect of a drug with respect to inhibiting AP in the nerve terminals within the airways vs. at conduction sites along the vagus nerve is relevant to therapeutic strategies involving inhaled Na V 1 blocking drugs.
- C fibre
- Vagus nerve
- voltage-gated sodium channels
ASJC Scopus subject areas