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J Neurophysiol. 2003 Jun;89(6):3243-52.

Distinct roles of P2X receptors in modulating glutamate release at different primary sensory synapses in rat spinal cord.

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McKnight Brain Institute and Department of Oral Surgery, Division of Neuroscience, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32610, USA.


Using spinal cord slice preparations and patch-clamp recordings in lamina II and lamina V regions, we tested a hypothesis that P2X receptor subtypes differentially modulate glutamate release from primary afferent terminals innervating different sensory regions. We found that activation of P2X receptors by alpha,beta-methylene-ATP increased glutamate release onto >80% of DH neurons in both lamina regions. However, two distinct types of modulation, a transient and a long-lasting enhancement of glutamate release were observed. In lamina II recordings, >70% of the modulation was transient. In contrast, P2X receptor-mediated modulation was always long-lasting in lamina V. Pharmacologically, both transient and long-lasting types of modulation were blocked by 10 microM pyridxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-disulphonic acid tetrasodium, a broad-spectrum P2X receptor antagonist. Transient modulation was not observed in the presence of 1 microM trinitrophenyl-ATP (TNP-ATP), a subtype-selective P2X receptor antagonist, suggesting that homomeric P2X3 receptors may be involved in the transient modulation in lamina II. The long-lasting modulation remained in the presence of 1 microM TNP-ATP. Selective removal of P2X3-expressing afferent terminals by the targeting toxin saporin-conjugated isolectin B4 or surgical removal of superficial DH did not affect P2X receptor-mediated long-lasting modulation in lamina V. Taken together, these results suggest that P2X receptor subtypes play distinct roles in sensory processing in functionally different sensory regions.

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