Background: Genome-wide association studies have identified TRPM8 (transient receptor potential melastatin 8) as one of the susceptibility genes for common migraine. Here, we investigated the postnatal changes of TRPM8-expressing dural afferent fibers as well as the function of dural TRPM8 channels in mice. Results: First, we quantified the density and the number of axonal branches of TRPM8-expressing fibers in the dura of mice expressing farnesylated enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFPf) from one TRPM8 allele between postnatal day 2 (P2) to adulthood. The number of axonal branches on individual dural EGFP-positive fibers was decreased by 30% between P2 and P11. The density of dural EGFP-positive fibers was subsequently reduced by 50% between P16 and P21. Conversely, the density and the number of branches of axons expressing calcitonin gene-related peptide remained stable in postnatal mouse dura. The density of TRPM8-expressing fibers innervating the mouse cornea epithelium was significantly increased from P2 to adulthood. Next, we tested the function of dural TRPM8 channels in adult mice and found that TRPM8 agonist menthol effectively inhibited the nocifensive behavior evoked by dural application of inflammatory mediators. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the TRPM8-expressing dural afferent fibers undergo cell- and target tissue-specific axonal pruning during postnatal development. Activation of dural TRPM8 channels decreases meningeal irritation-evoked nocifensive behavior in adult mice. This provides a framework to further explore the role of postnatal changes of TRPM8-expressing dural afferents in the pathophysiology of pediatric and adult migraine.
- Dural afferent fibers