I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Dec 2022 - 30 Dec 2022

2022 Dec 26


Antibodies against the gastrin-releasing peptide precursor pro-GRP reveal its expression in the mouse spinal dorsal horn.


Gutierrez-Mecinas M, Kókai É, Polgár E, Quillet R, Titterton HF, Weir GA, Watanabe M, Todd AJ
Neuroscience. 2022 Dec 26.
PMID: 36581131.


Gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) in the spinal dorsal horn acts on the GRP receptor, and this signalling mechanism has been strongly implicated in itch. However, the source of GRP in the dorsal horn is not fully understood. For example, the BAC transgenic mouse line GRP::GFP only captures around 25% of GRP-expressing cells, and Grp mRNA is found in several types of excitatory interneuron. A major limitation in attempts to identify GRP-expressing neurons has been that antibodies against GRP cross-react with other neuropeptides, including some that are expressed by primary afferents. Here we have developed two antibodies raised against different parts of the precursor protein, pro-GRP. We show that labelling is specific, and that the antibodies do not cross-react with neuropeptides in primary afferents. Immunoreactivity was strongest in the superficial laminae, and the two antibodies labelled identical structures, including glutamatergic axons and cell bodies. The pattern of pro-GRP-immunoreactivity varied among different neurochemical classes of excitatory interneuron. Cell bodies and axons of all GRP-GFP cells were labelled, confirming reliability of the antibodies. Among the other populations, we found the highest degree of co-expression (>50%) in axons of NPFF-expressing cells, while this was somewhat lower (10-20%) in cells that expressed substance P and NKB, and much lower (<10%) in other classes. Our findings show that these antibodies reliably detect GRP-expressing neurons and axons, and that in addition to the GRP-GFP cells, excitatory interneurons expressing NPFF or substance P are likely to be the main source of GRP in the spinal dorsal horn.