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Brain Res. 1999 Feb 27;820(1-2):63-70.

Inflammation-induced changes in peripheral glutamate receptor populations.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences, Marine Biomedical Institute, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX, 77555-1069, USA.


The ionotropic glutamate receptors N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and kainate (KA) have been localized on subpopulations of unmyelinated and myelinated sensory axons in normal skin. Behavioral studies indicate that activation of these receptors results in nociceptive behaviors and contributes to inflammatory pain. The goal of the present study was to determine if these glutamate receptors might contribute to the peripheral hypersensitivity observed in inflammation. The major findings were that 48 h following complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)-induced inflammation, the proportions of unmyelinated axons labeled for NMDA, AMPA or KA receptors were 61%, 43% and 48%, respectively, in cutaneous nerves in the inflamed paw compared to 48%, 22% and 27%, respectively, in the non-inflamed paw. The proportions of myelinated axons labeled for NMDA, AMPA or KA receptors were 61%, 61% and 43%, respectively, compared to 43%, 42% and 28%, respectively, in the non-inflamed hindpaw. These increases were all significant. These data indicate that the number of sensory axons containing ionotropic glutamate receptors increases during inflammation, and this may be a contributing factor to peripheral sensitization in inflammation.

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