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J Neurochem. 2002 Feb;80(4):562-70.

Intraplantar injection of glutamate evokes peripheral adenosine release in the rat hind paw: involvement of peripheral ionotropic glutamate receptors and capsaicin-sensitive sensory afferents.

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Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Glutamate receptors have been identified on the peripheral terminals of both primary sensory afferents and sympathetic post-ganglionic neurons, and activation of these receptors produces peripheral sensitization and enhances nociception. Adenosine is an endogenous agent that has a regulatory effect on pain. In brain and spinal cord, adenosine release can be promoted by excitatory amino acids. In the present study, we used in vivo microdialysis to determine whether glutamate also can release adenosine in peripheral tissues. Rats were anesthetized with pentobarbital and microdialysis probes were implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of the plantar aspect of the rat hind paw. Subcutaneous injection of glutamate (50 microL, 0.3-100 micromol) evoked a short-lasting adenosine release immediately following drug injection. Co-administration of either the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, dizocipine maleate (MK-801, 1 nmol) or the non-NMDA receptor antagonist, 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline (CNQX, 10 nmol) with glutamate blocked such release, suggesting an involvement of peripheral ionotropic glutamate receptors in this response. Systemic pre-treatment with capsaicin, a neurotoxin selective for unmyelinated sensory afferents, significantly reduced glutamate-evoked peripheral adenosine release, but release was not affected by systemic pre-treatment with 6-hydroxydopamine, a neurotoxin selective for sympathetic nerve efferents. Neither MK-801 nor CNQX blocked 5% formalin-evoked adenosine release, suggesting adenosine release by formalin is not secondary to ionotropic glutamate receptor activation. We conclude that administration of glutamate evokes peripheral adenosine release, and that peripheral ionotropic glutamate receptors on unmyelinated sensory afferents are involved in such release. The released adenosine may provide a negative feedback control on nociception.

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