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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Aug 2019 - 23 Aug 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Jan-Dec

Mol Pain


Differential Expression of mGluRs in Rat Spinal Dorsal Horns and Their Modulatory Effects on Nocifensive Behaviors.


Okubo M, Yamanaka H, Kobayashi K, Noguchi K
Mol Pain. 2019 Jan-Dec; 15:1744806919875026.
PMID: 31432760.


Glutamate is a neurotransmitter present in most excitatory synapses in the nervous system. It also plays a key role in the spinal cord's physiological excitatory circuit and is involved in pathological neurotransmissions such as those observed in inflammatory and neuropathic pain conditions. The actions of glutamate are mediated by different types of ionotropic (iGluRs) and metabotropic (mGluRs) receptors. Although expressions of iGluRs are well studied, those of mGluRs are not fully elucidated in the spinal cord. In this study, we examined the expressions of mGluRs (mGluR1-8) and investigated which mGluR subtypes can modulate pain transmission in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord using an inflammatory pain model. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that mGluR mRNAs, except for mGluR2 and 6 mRNAs, were detected in the spinal cord. Double labeling analysis, in situ hybridization histochemistry with immunohistochemistry, was used to examine the distribution of each mGluR in neurons or glial cells in the lamina I-II of the spinal dorsal horn. mGluR1, 5, and 7 were generally, and 4 and 8 were frequently, expressed in neurons. mGluR3 was expressed not only in neurons but also in oligodendrocytes. We next examined the distribution of mGluR4 and 8 were expressed in excitatory or inhibitory neurons. Both mGluR4 and 8 were preferentially expressed in inhibitory neurons rather than in excitatory neurons. Futhermore, intrathecal delivery of CPPG, an antagonist for mGluR 4 and 8, attenuated nocifensive behaviors and the increase in fos positive-excitatory neurons of the dorsal horn induced by intraplantar injection of formalin. These findings suggest that mGluR4 and 8, which are preferentially expressed in inhibitory neurons, may play roles in the modulation of pain transmission through mGluRs in the spinal dorsal horn.