Glutaminase increases in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons after unilateral adjuvant-induced hind paw inflammation

E. Matthew Hoffman, Zijia Zhang, Ruben Schechter, Kenneth E. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Glutamate is a neurotransmitter used at both the peripheral and central terminals of nociceptive primary sensory neurons, yet little is known concerning regulation of glutamate metabolism during peripheral inflammation. Glutaminase (GLS) is an enzyme of the glutamate-glutamine cycle that converts glutamine into glutamate for neurotransmission and is implicated in producing elevated levels of glutamate in central and peripheral terminals. A potential mechanism for increased levels of glutamate is an elevation in GLS expression. We assessed GLS expression after unilateral hind paw inflammation by measuring GLS immunoreactivity (ir) with quantitative image analysis of L4 dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons after one, two, four, and eight days of adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) compared to saline injected controls. No significant elevation in GLS-ir occurred in the DRG ipsilateral to the inflamed hind paw after one or two days of AIA. After four days AIA, GLS-ir was elevated significantly in all sizes of DRG neurons. After eight days AIA, GLS-ir remained elevated in small (<400 µm 2), presumably nociceptive neurons. Western blot analysis of the L4 DRG at day four AIA confirmed the elevated GLS-ir. The present study indicates that GLS expression is increased in the chronic stage of inflammation and may be a target for chronic pain therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
StatePublished - 13 Jan 2016


  • Adjuvant-induced arthritis
  • Complete freund’s adjuvant
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Glutamate
  • Glutaminase


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