The glutamatergic system in primary somatosensory neurons and its involvement in sensory input-dependent plasticity

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Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter in both the central and the peripheral nervous system. Glutamate is present in all types of neurons in sensory ganglia, and is released not only from their peripheral and central axon terminals but also from their cell bodies. Consistently, these neurons express ionotropic and metabotropic receptors, as well as other molecules involved in the synthesis, transport and release of the neurotransmitter. Primary sensory neurons are the first neurons in the sensory channels, which receive information from the periphery, and are thus key players in the sensory transduction and in the transmission of this information to higher centers in the pathway. These neurons are tightly enclosed by satellite glial cells, which also express several ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors, and display increases in intracellular calcium accompanying the release of glutamate. One of the main interests in our group has been the study of the implication of the peripheral nervous system in sensory-dependent plasticity. Recently, we have provided novel evidence in favor of morphological changes in first- and second-order neurons of the trigeminal system after sustained alterations of the sensory input. Moreover, these anatomical changes are paralleled by several molecular changes, among which those related to glutamatergic neurotransmission are particularly relevant. In this review, we will describe the state of the art of the glutamatergic system in sensory ganglia and its involvement in input-dependent plasticity, a fundamental ground for advancing our knowledge of the neural mechanisms of learning and adaptation, reaction to injury, and chronic pain.




Fernández-Montoya, J., Avendaño, C., & Negredo, P. (2018, January 1). The glutamatergic system in primary somatosensory neurons and its involvement in sensory input-dependent plasticity. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. MDPI AG.

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