The expression of sodium channel α-subunit mRNAs I, II, III, NaG, Na6 and hNE (PN1) was examined in developing (E17-P30) hippocampus, cerebellum, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia using non-isotopic in situ hybridization cytochemistry. The results showed distinct patterns of expression for each of the sodium channel mRNAs with maturation of the nervous system. In the hippocampus, sodium channel mRNA I was not detected at any developmental time, while mRNA II showed increasing hybridization signal between E17 and P30. Sodium channel mRNA III was more prevalent at late embryonic and early postnatal times, and was barely detectable at P30. The transcript for NaG showed transient expression between P2 and P15, being expressed at low levels at E17 and not being detectable at P30. Sodium channel mRNA Na6 exhibited a high level of expression between E17 and P15 in the hippocampal formation, with an attenuation of the signal by P30. hNE (PN1) mRNA was not detected in the hippocampus at any time examined. In the cerebellum, sodium channel mRNA I was not detected at E17 or P2, but became detectable in Purkinje cells at P15 and continued to show a low level of expression in these cells at P30. mRNA I was not detected at any time examined in granule cells of the cerebellum. Sodium channel mRNA II exhibited increasing expression in the developing cerebellum, and showed increasing signal in Purkinge cells beginning on P2 and granule cells on P15. Sodium channel mRNA III was down-regulated with development in the cerebellum, although mRNA III was readily detected at E17, it was not detected in any layers of the cerebellum by P15. NaG mRNA showed a peak of expression at P2, and was present at low levels at E17 and P15 and not detectable at P30. Na6 mRNA was highly expressed in the E17 cerebellum; this mRNA was present at high levels in Purkinje cells throughout development, although in granule cells the signal was attenuated at P15-P30. Sodium channel hNE (PN1) mRNA was not detected in the cerebellum at any time in development. In the spinal cord, sodium channel mRNA I showed increasing expression beginning at P2 and was highly expressed, particularly in ventral motor neurons, by P30. Sodium channel II mRNA was detected at all stages of development in the spinal cord; in contrast, mRNA III was detected at E17 and P2, but showed very low levels of expression by P30. NaG mRNA exhibited a transient expression in spinal cord at P2, but was not detectable at E17 and P30. Na6 mRNA was detectable at very low levels at E17 and became highly expressed at P2, prior to a reduction of the signal at P15 and P30. hNE (PN1) mRNA was not detected in the spinal cord at any time in development. In the dorsal root ganglia, sodium channel I mRNA hybridization signal was detected in DRG neurons at P2, with slightly increased levels at P15 and P30. Sodium channel II mRNA exhibited a relatively constant, moderate level of expression at all developmental ages. Sodium channel III mRNA was highly expressed in DRG neurons at E17 but was down-regulated with further development so that it was not detectable by P30. NaG mRNA was strongly expressed by some DRG neurons at all stages of development from E17 to P30; in general the level of NaG labelling was greater in larger neurons than in smaller neurons. Na6 mRNA showed increasing expression with development in DRG neurons at E17, low levels of Na6 mRNA were detected and by P15 to P30 high levels of expression were present in some neurons. hNE (PN1) mRNA was present in DRG neurons at P2, and was up-regulated with further development so that by P30 hNE (PN1) was expressed in all DRG neurons sizes. These results demonstrate that sodium channel α-subunit mRNAs I, II, III, NaG, Na6 and hNE (PN1) exhibit distinct spatial and temporal patterns of expression in nervous tissue, and suggest that the expression of the sodium channel α-subunits is differentially regulated. The expression of NaG and hNE (PN1) mRNAs in P30 DRG, but not other tissues, may provide a correlate for the presence, in dorsal root ganglia neurons, of unique sodium currents.
- In situ
- Ion channel