Int J Oral Biol.  2013 Mar;38(1):13-19.

Four Voltage-Gated Potassium Currents in Trigeminal Root Ganglion Neurons

  • 1Dental Science Research Institute, School of Dentistry, Research Center for Biomineralization Disorder, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea.
  • 2Department of Dental Hygiene, Gwangju Health University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea.


Various voltage-gated K+ currents were recently described in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. However, the characterization and diversity of voltage-gated K+ currents have not been well studied in trigeminal root ganglion (TRG) neurons, which are similar to the DRG neurons in terms of physiological roles and anatomy. This study was aimed to investigate the characteristics and diversity of voltage-gated K+ currents in acutely isolated TRG neurons of rat using whole cell patch clamp techniques. The first type (type I) had a rapid, transient outward current (I(A)) with the largest current size having a slow inactivation rate and a sustained delayed rectifier outward current (I(K)) that was small in size having a fast inactivation rate. The I(A) currents of this type were mostly blocked by TEA and 4-AP, K channel blockers whereas the I(K) current was inhibited by TEA but not by 4-AP. The second type had a large I(A) current with a slow inactivation rate and a medium size-sustained delayed IK current with a slow inactivation rate. In this second type (type II), the sensitivities of the I(A) or I(K) current by TEA and 4-AP were similar to those of the type I. The third type (type III) had a medium sized I(A) current with a fast inactivation rate and a large sustained I(K) current with the slow inactivation rate. In type III current, TEA decreased both I(A) and I(K) but 4-AP only blocked I(A) current. The fourth type (type IV) had a smallest I(A) with a fast inactivation rate and a large IK current with a slow inactivation rate. TEA or 4-AP similarly decreased the I(A) but the I(K) was only blocked by 4-AP. These findings suggest that at least four different voltage-gated K+ currents in biophysical and pharmacological properties exist in the TRG neurons of rats.


Trigeminal root ganglion neurons; Voltage-gated K+ currents
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