Spinal NMDA NR1 subunit expression following transient TNBS colitis

Qi Qi Zhou, Donald D. Price, Robert M. Caudle, G. Nicholas Verne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors play an important role in the development of hypersensitivity to visceral and somatic stimuli following inflammation or tissue injury. Our objective was to investigate the role of NMDA NR1 receptors in the spinal cord (T10-L1; L4-S1) of a subset of rats that remain hypersensitive following the histological resolution of TNBS-induced colitis compared to saline treated rats and rats that had recovered both behaviorally and histologically. We hypothesized that NMDA NR1 subunit expression mediates hypersensitivity following transient TNBS colitis. Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats (150g-250 g) received 20 mg/rat intracolonic trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) in 50% ethanol or saline. Animals underwent nociceptive visceral/somatic pain testing 16 weeks after resolution of TNBS colitis. Animals were sacrificed and their spinal cords (T10-L1; L4-S1) were retrieved and 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunohistocytochemistry techniques were used to investigate spinal-NMDA receptor expression. Results: NR1001 was the only NMDA NR1 receptor subunit that was expressed in recovered and control rats, whereas hypersensitive animals expressed NR1011 and NR1111 as well as NR1001 subunits. Immunohistochemistry analysis demonstrated increased expression of NMDA NR1-N1, C1, and C2-plus expression in laminae I and II of the spinal cord (T10-L1; L4-S1) in hypersensitive rats but not in recovered/control rats. Conclusions: Selective increases in the expression of the NMDA NR1 splice variants occur in hypersensitive rats following resolution of TNBS colitis. This suggests that the NMDA NR1 receptor plays an important role in the development of neuronal plasticity and central sensitization. The recombination of NR1 splice variants may serve as a key functional protein that maintains hypersensitivity following resolution of TNBS colitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Jul 7 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Central sensitization
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • NMDA receptor
  • Somatic hypersensitivity
  • Spinal cord
  • Visceral pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spinal NMDA NR1 subunit expression following transient TNBS colitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this