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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jun 2019 - 21 Jun 2019

Pharmacology/Drug Development


Curr Neuropharmacol



The Modulation of Pain by Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors 7 and 8 in the Dorsal Striatum.


Boccella S, Marabese I, Guida F, Luongo L, Maione S, Palazzo E
Curr Neuropharmacol. 2020; 18(1):34-50.
PMID: 31210112.


The dorsal striatum, apart from controlling voluntary movement, displays a recently demonstrated pain inhibition. It is connected to the descending pain modulatory system and in particular to the rostral ventromedial medulla through the medullary dorsal reticular nucleus. Diseases of the basal ganglia, such as Parkinson's disease, in addition to being characterized by motor disorders, are associated with pain and hyperactivation of the excitatory transmission. A way to counteract glutamatergic hyperactivation is through the activation of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which are located on presynaptic terminals inhibiting neurotransmitter release. So far the mGluRs of group III have been the least investigated, owing to a lack of selective tools. More recently, selective ligands for each mGluR of group III, in particular positive and negative allosteric modulators, have been developed and the role of each subtype is starting to emerge. The neuroprotective potential of group III mGluRs in pathological conditions, such as those characterized by elevate glutamate, has been recently shown. In the dorsal striatum mGluR7 and mGluR8 are located at glutamatergic corticostriatal terminals and their stimulation inhibits pain in pathological conditions such as neuropathic pain. The two receptors in the dorsal striatum have instead a different role on pain control in normal conditions. This review will discuss recent results focusing on the contribution of mGluR7 and mGluR8 in the dorsal striatal control of pain. The role of mGluR4, whose antiparkinsonian activity is widely reported, will be also addressed.