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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 507029, 10 pages
Research Article

Glutamate Transporter GLT-1 Upregulation Attenuates Visceral Nociception and Hyperalgesia via Spinal Mechanisms Not Related to Anti-Inflammatory or Probiotic Effects

1Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2Department of Neuroscience, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
4Department of Oral Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Received 16 July 2011; Accepted 12 September 2011

Academic Editor: Anna Maria Aloisi

Copyright © 2011 Y. Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Visceral pain is the most common reason for physician visits in US. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter and mediates visceral nociceptive neuro-transmission and hypersensitivity. Removal of extracellular glutamate is predominantly mediated by glial glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1). The pharmacological approach to up-regulate GLT-1 by 1 week administration of ceftriaxone (CTX) has been successful to mitigate visceral nociception. The present study shows that intrathecal delivery of selective GLT-1 antagonist dihydrokainate reversed CTX-blunted visceral nociceptive response, suggesting a spinal site of action. The role of GLT-1 up-regulation in animal models of colitis was studied. CTX treatment reversed TNBS-induced visceral hypersensitivity. In addition, CTX treatment initiated one week after the onset of DSS-induced visceral inflammation also attenuated visceral hypersensitivity, revealing a potential therapeutic effect. Cephalothin, a cephalosporin antibiotic lacking GLT-1 induction activity, failed to attenuate visceral nociception. CTX-induced changes in fecal microbiota do not support a role of probiotic effects in mitigating visceral nociception/hypersensitivity. Finally, adeno-associated virus serotype 9-mediated GLT-1 over-expression was effective to mitigate visceromotor response to 60 mmHg colo-rectal distension. These studies indicate that GLT-1 over-expression is a novel and effective method to attenuate visceral nociception, and is deserving of further study as a translationally relevant approach to treat visceral pain.