Sensory neurons innervating the dental pulp have unique morphological and functional characteristics compared to neurons innervating other tissues. Stimulation of dental pulp afferents whatever the modality or intensity of the stimulus, even light mechanical stimulation that would not activate nociceptors in other tissues, produces an intense pain. These specific sensory characteristics could involve receptors of the Transient Receptor Potential channels (TRP) family. In this study, we compared the expression of the cold sensitive receptors TRPM8 and TRPA1 in trigeminal ganglion neurons innervating the dental pulp, the skin of the cheek or the buccal mucosa and we evaluated the involvement of these receptors in dental pulp sensitivity to cold. We showed a similar expression of TRPM8, TRPA1 and CGRP in sensory neurons innervating the dental pulp, the skin or the mucosa. Moreover, we demonstrated that noxious cold stimulation of the tooth induced an overexpression of cFos in the trigeminal nucleus that was not prevented by the genetic deletion of TRPM8 or the administration of the TRPA1 antagonist HC030031. These data suggest that the unique sensory characteristics of the dental pulp are independent to TRPM8 and TRPA1 receptors expression and functionality.
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