Immunolocalisation of sodium channel NaG in the intact and injured human peripheral nervous system.
Coward K., Mosahebi A., Plumpton C., Facer P., Birch R., Tate S., Bountra C., Terenghi G., Anand P.
The voltage-gated 'glial' sodium channel NaG belongs to a distinct molecular class within the multi-gene family of mammalian sodium channels. Originally found in central and peripheral glia, NaG has since been detected in neurons in rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and may play a role in Schwann cell-axon interactions. We have studied the presence of NaG-like immunoreactivity in the intact and injured human peripheral nervous system using a specific affinity-purified antibody. Nerve fibres in normal and injured peripheral nerves and normal skin exhibited intense NaG-immunoreactivity. Numerous NaG-immunoreactive nerve fibres surrounded neuronal cell bodies within postmortem control DRG, and in DRG avulsed from the spinal cord (i.e. after traumatic central axotomy). There were no significant differences in the pattern of NaG immunostaining between control and avulsed DRG, or with delay after injury. Generally, the neuronal cell bodies were only very weakly immunoreactive to NaG, indicating that the NaG immunoreactivity was predominantly in Schwann cells/myelin. In accord, we demonstrated NaG immunostaining in cultured human and rat Schwann cells, and in distal nerve after wallerian degeneration. NaG thus appears to be a useful new marker for Schwann cells in the human PNS, and a role in neuropathy deserves investigation.