Astroglial distribution of neurokinin-2 receptor immunoreactivity in the rat spinal cord

Neuroscience. 1998 Jun;84(4):1233-46. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(97)00548-4.


Two mouse monoclonal antibodies, 11H9.1 and 1G7.10, raised against the COOH-terminus peptide (359-390) of the rat neurokinin-2 receptor, were used to visualize by light and electron microscope immunocytochemistry the distribution of this receptor in adult rat spinal cord. At all spinal levels, immunoreactivity was mainly observed in two narrow crescentic zones bordering the gray matter of the dorsal and ventral horns, and around the central canal. In the light microscope, this labelling was the densest within the outer part of lamina I facing the dorsal column, where it took the form of minute dots and streaks scattered in the neuropil. In the electron microscope, such a localization was exclusively astrocytic and essentially involved astrocytic leaflets, as indicated by the size and irregular shape of the immunostained processes, their location between and around neuronal profiles, and their occasional display of glial filaments. The diaminobenzidine reaction product showed some predilection for the plasma membrane and was occasionally seen at gap junctions of these labelled processes. Many labelled astrocytic leaflets were observed in the immediate vicinity of axon terminals containing large dense-cored vesicles, and around fibres morphologically identifiable as primary afferent, unmyelinated C-fibres. These observations suggest that astrocytic neurokinin-2 receptors could define the effective sphere of neurokinin A neuromodulation in rat spinal cord, via alterations in the regulation of the extracellular environment and glutamate uptake by astrocytes and/or the release of putative astroglial mediators. The astrocyte neurokinin-2 receptors, activated by extrasynaptic neurokinin A, might thus co-operate with neurokinin-1 and neurokinin-3 neuronal receptors in the modulation of nociceptive information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Astrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Blotting, Western
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epitopes / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2 / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / ultrastructure


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2