Neurochemistry of cutaneous nociceptors
Nociceptive information, that is, information about potentially damaging stimuli, from the skin of the limbs and the trunk, is carried to the spinal cord by several types of nociceptive dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones. This chapter examines neurochemical markers of neuronal subpopulations and excludes those common to all sensory neurones. It therefore reviews data on neurochemical expression in DRG neurones in order to identify molecules expressed in neurones with cell sizes that are appropriate for nociceptive neurones. This type of approach examines circumstantial evidence only and can therefore provide only a guide as to which molecules may be more or less rewarding to study in future ‘pain’ research. It then examines the evidence that certain of these molecules are expressed in cutaneous afferent neurones. Finally, it examines the limited direct evidence on molecular expression in identified nociceptive cutaneous afferent neurones.
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