Tai YH, Wang YH, Tsai RY, Wang JJ, Tao PL, Liu TM, Wang YC, Wong CS: Amitriptyline preserves morphine’s antinociceptive effect by regulating the glutamate transporter GLAST and GLT-1 trafficking and excitatory amino acids concentration in morphine-tolerant rats

Graduate Institute of Medical Science, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
Pain (Impact Factor: 5.21). 07/2007; 129(3):343-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2007.01.031
Source: PubMed


The present study was undertaken to examine the effect of amitriptyline on the antinociceptive effect of morphine and its underlying mechanisms in regulating glutamate transporters trafficking in morphine-tolerant rats. Long-term morphine infusion induced antinociceptive tolerance and down-regulation of glutamate transporters (GTs), GLAST, GLT-1, and EAAC1, expression in the rat spinal cord dorsal horn. Acute amitriptyline treatment potentiated morphine's antinociceptive effect, with a 5.3-fold leftward shift of morphine's dose-response curve in morphine-tolerant rats, and this was associated with GLAST and GLT-1 trafficking onto the cell surface. Similar to our previous studies, morphine challenge (10 microg/10 microl, i.t.) significant by increased the excitatory amino acids (EAAs) aspartate and glutamate level in the CSF dialysates of morphine-tolerant rats. Acute amitriptyline treatment not only suppressed this morphine-evoked EAA release, but further reduced the EAA concentration than baseline level. Furthermore, long-term morphine infusion up-regulated PKA and PKC protein expression in the spinal cord dorsal horn, while amitriptyline inhibited the increase in expression of phospho-PKA, PKCalpha, PKCbetaII, and PKCgamma. In morphine-tolerant rats, acute treatment with PKA inhibitor H89 and PKC inhibitor Gö6805 attenuated morphine tolerance and the morphine-induced CSF glutamate and aspartate elevation, and induced trafficking of GLAST and GLT-1 from cytosol onto the cell surface. These results show that acute amitriptyline treatment preserved morphine's antinociceptive effect in morphine-tolerant rats; the mechanisms may be involved in inhibition of phospho-PKA and PKC expression, and thus inducing the GLAST and GLT-1 trafficking onto glial cell surface which enhances the EAA uptake from the synaptic cleft and reduces EAA concentration in the spinal CSF.

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    • "Glutamate transporter activities are decreased by increased arachidonic acid in nerveinjury-induced neuropathic rats (Sung et al., 2007). Studies in cell cultures (Susarla and Robinson, 2008; Garcia-Tardon et al., 2012) and morphine-tolerant animals (Tai et al., 2007) indicate that trafficking of glial glutamate transporters between the cell surface and cytosol is a key post-translational mechanism regulating glial glutamate transporter function. In taxol-induced neuropathic rats, nitration of glial glutamate transporters by peroxynitrite reduces glial glutamate transporter function (Doyle et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Paclitaxel (taxol) is a first-line chemotherapy-drug used to treat many types of cancers. Neuropathic pain and sensory dysfunction are the major toxicities, which are dose-limiting and significantly reduce the quality of life in patients. Two known critical spinal mechanisms underlying taxol-induced neuropathic pain are an increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1β(IL-1β) and suppressed glial glutamate transporter activities. In this study, we uncovered that increased activation of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3β in the spinal dorsal horn was concurrently associated with increased protein expressions of GFAP, IL-1β and a decreased protein expression of glial glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1), as well as the development and maintenance of taxol-induced neuropathic pain. The enhanced GSK3β activities were supported by the concurrently decreased AKT and mTOR activities. The changes of all these biomarkers were basically prevented when animals received pre-emptive lithium (a GSK3βinhibitor) treatment, which also prevented the development of taxol-induced neuropathic pain. Further, chronic lithium treatment, which began on day 11 after the first taxol injection, reversed the existing mechanical and thermal allodynia induced by taxol. The taxol-induced increased GSK3β activities and decreased AKT and mTOR activities in the spinal dorsal horn were also reversed by lithium. Meanwhile, protein expressions of GLT-1, GFAP and IL-1β in the spinal dorsal horn were improved. Hence, suppression of spinal GSK3β activities is a key mechanism used by lithium to reduce taxol-induced neuropathic pain, and targeting spinal GSK3β is an effective approach to ameliorate GLT-1 expression and suppress activation of astrocytes and IL-1β over-production in the spinal dorsal horn.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Neuroscience
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    • "For example, hyperalgesia induced by nerve injury and the associated deficiency in glutamate uptake, as measured using synaptosome preparations, can be reversed with a cytosolic phospholipase A2 inhibitor (Sung et al., 2007). Prevention of GLT-1 downregulation by amitriptyline in the spinal dorsal horn is accompanied by an attenuation of morphine tolerance in rats (Lim et al., 2005; Tai et al., 2007). Furthermore, selective increased expression of GLT-1 by ceftriaxone treatment (Hu et al., 2010) or gene transfer (Maeda et al., 2008) significantly reduces hyperalgesia induced by nerve injury. "
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of glutamate receptors and glial cells in the spinal dorsal horn are two fundamental processes involved in the pathogenesis of various pain conditions, including neuropathic pain induced by injury to the peripheral or central nervous systems. Numerous studies have demonstrated that minocycline treatment attenuates allodynic and hyperalgesic behaviors induced by tissue inflammation or nerve injury. However, the synaptic mechanisms by which minocycline prevents hyperalgesia are not fully understood. We recently reported that deficient glutamate uptake by glial glutamate transporters (GTs) is key for the enhanced activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the spinal sensory synapses of rats receiving partial sciatic nerve ligation (pSNL). In this study, we investigated how minocycline affects activation of NMDA receptors in the spinal sensory synapses in rats with pSNL by whole cell recordings of NMDA currents in spinal laminea I and II neurons from spinal slices. The effects of minocycline treatments on the dorsal horn expression of glial GTs and astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. We demonstrated that normalized activation of NMDA receptors in synapses activated by both weak and strong peripheral input in the spinal dorsal horn is temporally associated with attenuated mechanical allodynia in rats with pSNL receiving intraperitoneal injection of minocycline. Minocycline ameliorated both the downregulation of glial GT expression and the activation of astrocytes induced by pSNL in the spinal dorsal horn. We further revealed that preventing deficient glial glutamate uptake at the synapse is crucial for preserving the normalized activation of NMDA receptors in the spinal sensory synapses in pSNL rats treated with minocycline. Our studies suggest that glial GTs may be a potential target for the development of analgesics.
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    • "Multiple studies have shown that PKC activation can increase EAAT3 activity (Do et al 2002; Huang & Zuo 2005; Huang et al 2006) and amitriptyline can inhibit PKC (Tai et al 2007). Thus, it is possible that the amitriptyline effects on EAAT3 activity may be mediated by PKC. "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that glutamatergic systems may be involved in the pathophysiology of major depression and the mechanism of action of antidepressants. We have investigated the effects of amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, on the activity of the excitatory amino acid transporter type 3 (EAAT3), a protein that can regulate extracellular glutamate concentrations in the brain. EAAT3 was expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Using a two-electrode voltage clamp, membrane currents were recorded after application of 30 microM L-glutamate in the presence or absence of various concentrations of amitriptyline or after application of various concentrations of L-glutamate in the presence or absence of 0.64 microM amitriptyline. Amitriptyline concentration-dependently reduced EAAT3 activity. This inhibition reached statistical significance at 0.38-1.27 microM amitriptyline. Amitriptyline 0.64 microM reduced the pharmacokinetic parameter Vmax, but did not affect the pharmacokinetic parameter Km, of EAAT3 for L-glutamate. The amitriptyline inhibition disappeared after a 4-min washout. Phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate, a protein kinase C activator, increased EAAT3 activity. However, 0.64 microM amitriptyline induced a similar degree of decrease in EAAT3 activity in the presence or absence of phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate. Our results suggested that amitriptyline at clinically relevant concentrations reversibly reduced EAAT3 activity via decreasing its maximal velocity of glutamate transporting function. The effects of amitriptyline on EAAT3 activity may have represented a novel site of action for amitriptyline to increase glutamatergic neurotransmission. Protein kinase C may not have been involved in the effects of amitriptyline on EAAT3.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
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