Expression and distribution of the transient receptor potential cationic channel ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) in the human vagina

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Abstract

The transient receptor potential cationic channel type A1 (TRPA1), belonging to a superfamily of cationic membrane channels, has been suggested to act as mechano- and pain sensor and, thus, to play a role in neurotransmission in the human body, including the urogenital tract. While the expression of TRPA1 has been investigated in a variety of tissues, up until today, no study has addressed the expression and distribution in the female genital tract. The present study aimed to investigate the expression and distribution of TRPA1 protein in human vaginal tissue. Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) was applied in order to identify messenger ribonuleic acid specifically encoding for TRPA/A1. The distribution of TRPA1 in relation to the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and the signaling peptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) was examined by means of immunohistochemical methods (doubleantibody technique, laser fluorescence microscopy). RT-PCR analysis revealed the expression of mRNA encoding sequences specific for TRPA in the vaginal wall and epithelium. Immunostaining related to TRPA1 was observed in the basal epithelium and in slender varicose nerve fibers transversing the subepithelial and stromal space of the vaginal sections. In addition, these fibers presented immunoreactivity specific for nNOS or CGRP. The smooth musculature of the vaginal wall and small vessels interspersing the tissue did not present signals related to TRPA1. The findings indicate that TRPA1 might be involved in afferent neurotransmission in the vagina and work synergistically together with the nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway.

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