We have previously shown that the atypical methylxanthine, propentofylline, reduces mechanical allodynia after peripheral nerve transection in a rodent model of neuropathy. In the present study, we sought to determine whether propentofylline-induced glial modulation alters spinal glutamate transporters, glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) and glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST) in vivo, which may contribute to reduced behavioral hypersensitivity after nerve injury. In order to specifically examine the expression of the spinal glutamate transporters, a novel line of double transgenic GLT-1-enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP)/GLAST-Discosoma Red (DsRed) promoter mice was used. Adult mice received propentofylline (10 mg/kg) or saline via i.p. injection starting 1 h prior to L5-spinal nerve transection and then daily for 12 days. Mice receiving saline exhibited punctate expression of both eGFP (GLT-1 promoter activation) and DsRed (GLAST promoter activation) in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, which was decreased ipsilateral to nerve injury on day 12. Propentofylline administration reinstated promoter activation on the injured side as evidenced by an equal number of eGFP (GLT-1) and DsRed (GLAST) puncta in both dorsal horns. As demonstrated in previous studies, propentofylline induced a concomitant reversal of L5 spinal nerve transection-induced expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The ability of propentofylline to alter glial glutamate transporters highlights the importance of controlling aberrant glial activation in neuropathic pain and suggests one possible mechanism for the anti-allodynic action of this drug.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.01.065
View details for Web of Science ID 000255152800022
View details for PubMedID 18358622