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Neuroreport. 1999 Jul 13;10(10):2107-11.

Glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) regulates VR1 and substance P in cultured sensory neurons.

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Novartis Institute for Medical Sciences, London, UK.


Many nociceptive dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neurons express the high affinity nerve growth factor (NGF) receptor TRKA, and respond to NGF. However, many do not express TRKA but are thought to respond to glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and related molecules. We therefore cultured DRG neurons in the presence of GDNF, and looked at the expression of substance P and of the capsaicin receptor, VR1, two nociceptive properties already known to be NGF regulated. Using several different approaches we demonstrated that GDNF produced clear increases in expression of both properties, comparable in magnitude to increases seen with NGF. Following axotomy, aberrant expression of substance P in A fibres may be involved in the generation of neuropathic pain. Factors regulating substance P and other properties in the absence of retrogradely transported NGF may therefore be of significance in neuropathic pain states.

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