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Brain Res. 2001 Sep 14;913(1):18-26.

Metabotropic glutamate 1alpha receptors on peripheral primary afferent fibers: their role in nociception.

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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.


Several lines of evidence indicate that Group I metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) 1alpha receptors are involved in the processing of nociceptive information in the spinal cord. The goals of the present study are to document the role of mGlu1alpha receptors in peripheral nociception. To accomplish this we investigate the presence of mGlu1alpha receptors on peripheral primary afferent fibers and determine the behavioral effects of (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (S-DHPG), which is an mGlu1/5 receptor agonist and (RS)-1-aminoindan-1, 5-dicarboxylic acid (AIDA), a selective mGluR1alpha antagonist, on mechanical and thermal sensitivity and formalin-induced nociceptive behaviors. The anatomical studies at the electron microscopic level demonstrate that 32.4+/-2.9% of the unmyelinated axons and 21.6+/-4.7% of the myelinated axons are positively immunostained for mGlu1alpha receptors. Intraplantar injection of 0.1 or 1 mM S-DHPG results in a significant increase in mechanical sensitivity that persists for more than 60 min and this effect is blocked by co-injection of S-DHPG with 1 mM AIDA. Intraplantar injection of 40 microM AIDA+2% formalin significantly attenuates phase 2 lifting/licking and flinching behavior and this AIDA-induced effect is blocked with co-injection of 1 microM S-DHPG. In behavioral tests, intraplantar S-DHPG (0.1, 1.0, 10 mM) does not change tail flick latencies or paw withdrawal latencies to heat stimulation. These data indicate that mGlu1alpha receptors are present on peripheral cutaneous axons and activation of peripheral mGlu1alpha receptors contributes to mechanical allodynia and inflammatory pain but not thermal hyperalgesia.

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