The Nav1.9 Na+ channel (also known as NaN) is preferentially expressed in nociceptive neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and trigeminal ganglia. Nav1.9 produces a persistent, tetrodotoxin-resistant current with wide overlap between activation and steady-state inactivation, and appears to modulate resting potential and to amplify small depolarizations. These unique properties indicate that Nav1.9 has significant effects on the electroresponsive properties of primary nociceptive neurons. Downregulation of Nav1.9, which results from a lack of peripheral glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor following peripheral axotomy, might retune DRG neurons and contribute to their hyperexcitability after nerve injury. Thus, Nav1.9 appears to play a key role in nociception and is an attractive target in the search for more effective treatments for pain.
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