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Somatosensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and trigeminal ganglia (TG) are responsible for detecting thermal and tactile stimuli. They are also the primary neurons mediating pain and itch. A large number of cell surface receptors in these neurons couple to phospholipase C (PLC) enzymes leading to the hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5- bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2] and the generation of downstream signaling molecules. These neurons also express many different ion channels, several of which are regulated by phosphoinositides. This review will summarize the knowledge on phosphoinositide signaling in DRG neurons, with special focus on effects on sensory and other ion channels.
This review attempted to discuss signaling through phosphoinositides in peripheral sensory neurons, with focus on effects on ion channels. I tried to be comprehensive, yet brief, a combination inevitably leading to some oversimplification. The role of PLC signaling in acute inflammatory sensitization has been very well established, and the role of this signaling pathway in certain forms of itch is emerging. The diversity of sensory neurons and the pleiotropic nature of phosphoinositide signaling make the picture complex however. There is an abundance of information available on this topic, but a lot of dots need to be connected by future research to have a clearer picture on the details in many cases.