Downregulation of neuroligin1 ameliorates postoperative pain through inhibiting neuroligin1/postsynaptic density 95-mediated synaptic targeting of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptor GluA1 subunits in rat dorsal horns

Ruijuan Guo, Huili Li, Xueyang Li, Zhaojing Xue, Yuqing Sun, Danxu Ma, Yun Guan, Junfa Li, Ming Tian, Yun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Neuroligin1 is an important synaptic cell adhesion molecule that modulates the function of synapses through protein–protein interactions. Yet, it remains unclear whether the regulation of synaptic transmission in the spinal cord by neruoligin1 contributes to the development of postoperative pain. In a rat model of postoperative pain induced by plantar incision, we conducted Western blot study to examine changes in the expression of postsynaptic membrane of neuroligin1, postsynaptic density 95 (PSD-95), and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) receptor GluA1 and GluA2 subunits in the spinal cord dorsal horn after injury. The interaction between neuroligin1 and PSD-95 was further determined by using coimmunoprecipitation. Protein levels of neuroligin1 and GluA1, but not GluA2 and PSD-95, were significantly increased in the postsynaptic membrane of the ipsilateral dorsal horn at 3 h and 1 day after incision, as compared to that in control group (naïve). A greater amount of PSD-95 was coimmunoprecipitated with neuroligin1 at 3 h after incision than that in the control group. Intrathecal administration of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting neuroligin1 suppressed the expression of neuroligin1 in the spinal cord. Importantly, pretreatment with intrathecal neuroligin1 siRNA2497, but not scrambled siRNA or vehicle, prevented the upregulation of GluA1 expression at 3 h after incision, inhibited the enhanced neuroligin1/PSD-95 interaction, and attenuated postoperative pain. Together, current findings suggest that downregulation of spinal neuroligin1 expression may ameliorate postoperative pain through inhibiting neuroligin1/PSD-95 interaction and synaptic targeting of GluA1 subunit. Accordingly, spinal neuroligin1 may be a potential new target for postoperative pain treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular Pain
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018



  • AMPA receptor
  • neuroligin1
  • postoperative pain
  • PSD-95
  • spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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