Modulation of spinal nociceptive processing through the glutamate transporter GLT-1

E. Niederberger, A. Schmidtko, J. D. Rothstein, G. Geisslinger, I. Tegeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


GLT-1 is the predominant glutamate transporter in most brain regions and therefore plays a major role in terminating synaptic transmission and protecting neurons from glutamate neurotoxicity. In the present study we assessed (i) the regulation of GLT-1 expression in the spinal cord after peripheral nociceptive stimulation and (ii) the nociceptive behavior of rats following inhibition or transient knockdown of spinal GLT-1. Formalin injection into one hindpaw caused a rapid transient upregulation of GLT-1 protein expression in the spinal cord which did not occur when rats were pretreated with morphine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) suggesting that the nociceptive input specifically caused the increase of GLT-1 transcription. Inhibition of GLT-1 by the transportable inhibitor trans-pyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylic acid resulted in a significant reduction of nociceptive behavior in the rat formalin assay. Similar results were obtained with a transient reduction of GLT-1 protein expression by antisense oligonucleotides. These data suggest that inhibition of GLT-1 activity or expression reduces excitatory synaptic efficacy and thereby nociception. Mechanisms that might explain this phenomenon may include activation of inhibitory metabotropic glutamate receptors, postsynaptic desensitization or disturbance of glutamate recycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2003


  • Formalin test
  • Glia
  • Glutamate transporter
  • Nociception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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