Role of KCNQ2 channels in orofacial cold sensitivity: KCNQ2 upregulation in trigeminal ganglion neurons after infraorbital nerve chronic constrictive injury

Academic Article


  • Sensitivity to cooling temperatures often becomes heightened in orofacial regions leading to orofacial cold allodynia/hyperalgesia after chronic trigeminal nerve injury. KCNQ2 channels are involved in controlling excitability of primary afferent neurons and thereby regulate sensory functions under both physiological and pathological conditions. In the present study, we sought to determine whether KCNQ2 channels in trigeminal nerves are involved in regulating orofacial operant behavioral responses to cooling stimulation. We also sought to examine whether chronic trigeminal nerve injury may alter KCNQ2 channel expression in trigeminal ganglions. Using the orofacial operant tests, animals show cold allodynia/hyperalgesia in orofacial regions following infraorbital nerve chronic constrictive injury (ION-CCI), which could be alleviated by subcutaneous administration of retigabine, a KCNQ2 activator. In contrast, subcutaneous administration of the KCNQ2 inhibitor XE991 directly elicits cold allodynia/hyperalgesia in sham animals. Using immunostaining, we show that KCNQ2 channels are primarily expressed in small-sized TG neurons. Interestingly, KCNQ2 channel expression becomes significantly upregulated in TG neurons following the ION-CCI. Our results suggest that KCNQ2 channels are involved in regulating orofacial cold sensitivity. Upregulation of KCNQ2 channels may be a compensatory change in attempting to limit injury-induced trigeminal hyperexcitability.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ling J; Erol F; Gu JG
  • Start Page

  • 84
  • End Page

  • 90
  • Volume

  • 664