Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule is involved in excitatory synaptic transmission and plasticity in the rat spinal dorsal horn

Eun sung Park, Sang-Min Jeon, Haein Weon, Hee jung Cho, Dong ho Youn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM), a member of type I transmembrane immunoglobulin superfamily of cell adhesion molecule, is expressed in the surface membrane of various cell types including neurons. In the spinal cord dorsal horn (DH), the first gate for the sensory and pain transmission to the brain, the expression and function of ALCAM have not been known yet. Therefore, we here investigate the synaptic function of ALCAM in the substantia gelatinosa (lamina II) of the spinal DH, as well as its expression in the DH. Bath-application of ALCAM/Fc or CD6/Fc, the recombinant human IgG1-Fc chimeric proteins, specifically potentiated C-fiber-mediated excitatory synaptic transmission and predominantly increased spontaneous release of glutamate. In addition, the development of long-term potentiation, a form of synaptic plasticity, at excitatory synapses was significantly inhibited in the presence of the recombinant proteins. The functional roles of ALCAM in the spinal DH were further supported by immunohistochemical analysis; it showed that ALCAM intensely expressed through laminae I/II with the exception of lateral portion of the dorsal part of inner lamina II and distinctly co-localized with molecular markers of C-fibers, such as peptidergic calcitonin gene-related protein and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 and non-peptidergic isolectin B4. This study, for the first time, suggests the modulatory roles of ALCAM in the excitatory synaptic transmission and plasticity in the rat spinal DH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Aug 24 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • LTP
  • Spinal dorsal horn
  • Synaptic transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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