Odontoblasts function as mechanosensory receptors because of the expression of mechanosensitive channels in these cells. However, it is unclear if odontoblasts direct the signal transmission evoked by heat/cold or osmotic changes. This study investigated the effects of heat/cold or osmotic changes on calcium signaling and the functional expression of the thermo/mechanosensitive transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in primary cultured mouse odontoblastic cells, with the use of RT-PCR, fluorometric calcium imaging, and electrophysiology. TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3, TRPV4, and TRPM3 mRNA was expressed, but TRPM8 and TRPA1 mRNA was not. The receptor-specific stimulation of TRPV1-3 (heat-sensing receptors) and TRPV4/ TRPM3 (mechanic receptors) caused increases in the intracellular calcium concentration. Moreover, the channel activities of TRPV1-4 and TRPM3 were confirmed by a whole-cell patch-clamp technique. These results suggest that primary cultured mouse odontoblasts express heat/mechanosensitive TRP channels and play a role in the underlying mechanisms of thermo/mechanosensitive sensory transmission.
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