Alpha2-adrenergic receptors in human dorsal root ganglia: predominance of alpha2b and alpha2c subtype mRNAs.
BACKGROUND: Nonselective alpha2-adrenergic receptor (alpha2AR) agonists (e.g., clonidine) mediate antinociception in part through alpha2ARs in spinal cord dorsal horn; however, use of these agents for analgesia in humans is limited by unwanted sedation and hypotension. The authors previously demonstrated alpha2a approximately alpha2b > > > alpha2c mRNA in human spinal cord dorsal horn cell bodies. However, because 20% of dorsal horn alpha2ARs derive from cell bodies that reside in the associated dorsal root ganglion (DRG), it is important to evaluate alpha2AR expression in this tissue as well. Therefore, the authors evaluated the hypothesis that alpha2b mRNA, alpha2c mRNA, or both are present in human DRG. METHODS: Molecular approaches were used to determine alpha2AR expression in 28 human DRGs because of low overall receptor mRNA expression and small sample size. After creation of synthetic competitor cDNA and establishment of amplification conditions with parallel efficiencies, competitive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was performed using RNA isolated from human DRG. RESULTS: Overall expression of alpha2AR mRNA in DRG is low but reproducible at all spinal levels. alpha2b and alpha2cAR subtype mRNAs predominate (alpha2b approximately alpha2c), accounting for more than 95% of the total alpha2AR mRNA in DRG at all human spinal nerve root levels. CONCLUSIONS: Predominance of alpha2b and alpha2cAR mRNA in human DRG is distinct from alpha2AR mRNA expression in cell bodies originating in human spinal cord dorsal horn, where alpha2a and alpha2b predominate with little or absent alpha2c expression. These findings also highlight species heterogeneity in alpha2AR expression in DRG. If confirmed at a protein level, these findings provide an additional step in unraveling mechanisms involved in complex neural pathways such as those for pain.
Ongioco, RR; Richardson, CD; Rudner, XL; Stafford-Smith, M; Schwinn, DA
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