Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

GluN2B N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor and excitatory amino acid transporter 3 are upregulated in primary sensory neurons after 7 days of morphine administration in rats


The contribution of the peripheral nervous system to opiate-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) is not well understood. In this study, we determined the changes in excitability of primary sensory neurons after sustained morphine administration for 7 days. Changes in the expression of glutamate receptors and glutamate transporters after morphine administration were ascertained in dorsal root ganglions. Patch clamp recordings from intact dorsal root ganglions (ex vivo preparation) of morphine-treated rats showed increased excitability of small diameter (≤30 μm) neurons with respect to rheobase and membrane threshold, whereas the excitability of large diameter (>30 μm) neurons remained unchanged. Small diameter neurons also displayed increased responses to glutamate, which were mediated mainly by GluN2B containing N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, and to a lesser degree by the neuronal excitatory amino acid transporter 3/excitatory amino acid carrier 1. Coadministration in vivo of the GluN2B selective antagonist Ro 25-6981 with morphine for 7 days prevented the appearance of OIH and increased morphine-induced analgesia. Administration of morphine for 7 days led to an increased expression of GluN2B and excitatory amino acid transporter 3/excitatory amino acid carrier 1, but not of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate, kainate, or group I metabotropic glutamate receptors, or of the vesicular glutamate transporter 2. These results suggest that peripheral glutamatergic neurotransmission contributes to OIH and that GluN2B subunit of NMDA receptors in the periphery may be a target for therapy.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View