Inflammation-induced GluA1 trafficking and membrane insertion of Ca2 + permeable AMPA receptors in dorsal horn neurons is dependent on spinal tumor necrosis factor, PI3 kinase and protein kinase A

G. Wigerblad, J. R. Huie, H. Z. Yin, M. Leinders, R. A. Pritchard, F. J. Koehrn, W. H. Xiao, G. J. Bennett, R. L. Huganir, A. R. Ferguson, J. H. Weiss, C. I. Svensson, L. S. Sorkin

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Peripheral inflammation induces sensitization of nociceptive spinal cord neurons. Both spinal tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and neuronal membrane insertion of Ca2 + permeable AMPA receptor (AMPAr) contribute to spinal sensitization and resultant pain behavior, molecular mechanisms connecting these two events have not been studied in detail. Intrathecal (i.t.) injection of TNF-blockers attenuated paw carrageenan-induced mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity. Levels of GluA1 and GluA4 from dorsal spinal membrane fractions increased in carrageenan-injected rats compared to controls. In the same tissue, GluA2 levels were not altered. Inflammation-induced increases in membrane GluA1 were prevented by i.t. pre-treatment with antagonists to TNF, PI3K, PKA and NMDA. Interestingly, administration of TNF or PI3K inhibitors followed by carrageenan caused a marked reduction in plasma membrane GluA2 levels, despite the fact that membrane GluA2 levels were stable following inhibitor administration in the absence of carrageenan. TNF pre-incubation induced increased numbers of Co2 + labeled dorsal horn neurons, indicating more neurons with Ca2 + permeable AMPAr. In parallel to Western blot results, this increase was blocked by antagonism of PI3K and PKA. In addition, spinal slices from GluA1 transgenic mice, which had a single alanine replacement at GluA1 ser 845 or ser 831 that prevented phosphorylation, were resistant to TNF-induced increases in Co2 + labeling. However, behavioral responses following intraplantar carrageenan and formalin in the mutant mice were no different from littermate controls, suggesting a more complex regulation of nociception. Co-localization of GluA1, GluA2 and GluA4 with synaptophysin on identified spinoparabrachial neurons and their relative ratios were used to assess inflammation-induced trafficking of AMPAr to synapses. Inflammation induced an increase in synaptic GluA1, but not GluA2. Although total GluA4 also increased with inflammation, co-localization of GluA4 with synaptophysin, fell short of significance. Taken together these data suggest that peripheral inflammation induces a PI3K and PKA dependent TNFR1 activated pathway that culminates with trafficking of calcium permeable AMPAr into synapses of nociceptive dorsal horn projection neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-158
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • AMPA
  • Dorsal horn
  • Inflammatory pain
  • NMDA
  • PI3K
  • PKA
  • Receptor trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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