Glial Plasticity in the Trigeminal Root Entry Zone of a Rat Trigeminal Neuralgia Animal Model.


Department of Human Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, 350122, China. [Email]


The trigeminal root entry zone (TREZ) is the transitional zone of central and peripheral tissue compartments in the trigeminal root. Microvascular compression on the TREZ is the main etiology of most idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) patients. However, the pathogenesis of TN is still uncertain. To investigate the glial plasticity changes in oligodendrocytes, Schwann cells, astrocytes and microglia/macrophages in the TREZ in TN, immunohistochemical staining and Western blot methods were performed in rats with TN induced by compression injury. The results showed that mechanical compression injury in the trigeminal nerve of the TN rats induced glial plasticity in the TREZ, which dynamically changed the glial interface of the CNS-PNS transitional zone. Additionally, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunoreactive astrocyte processes significantly proliferated and extended distally from the central region to the peripheral side of the TREZ after nerve compression injury in the TN group. Moreover, the expression of p75 in Schwann cells was upregulated on the peripheral side of the TREZ, and activated Iba-1-immunoreactive microglia/macrophages were observed on both sides of the TREZ. A significantly higher number of Schwann cells, astrocytes and microglia/macrophages were found in the TN group than in the sham operation group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, mechanical compression injury in the TN rats activated various glial cells, including oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, Schwann cells and microglia/macrophages, in the CNS-PNS transitional zone of TREZ. Changes in glial cell plasticity in the TREZ after compression injury might be involved in TN pathogenesis.


Animal model,Glial plasticity,Mechanical compression,Trigeminal neuralgia,Trigeminal root entry zone,