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Focus on the Role of Glutamate in the Pathology of the Peripheral Nervous System

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The role of Glutamate (Glu), one of the major excitatory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, has been thoroughly investigated in animal models and in humans in several physiologic events, such as brain development and synaptic plasticity, but also in acute and chronic neurologic diseases and psychiatric disorders. Recently, it has been demonstrated that Glu is important for sensory input transduction, particularly along the nociceptive pathway. Glu involvement in peripheral neuropathies has also been suggested on the basis of experimental studies in animals, thus widening the spectrum of possible sites of action of this neurotransmitter from the central to the peripheral nervous system.

This rather unexpected observation may have important therapeutic implications, provided that a complete characterization of the glutamatergic system in the peripheral nervous system is achieved and its changes under the different pathological conditions are investigated.

This review will focus on the most recent advances in the research into the role of Glu and the glutamatergic system in the pathology of the peripheral nervous system.

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Keywords: Glutamate; glutamate carboxypeptidase II; glutamate receptors; peripheral nervous system; “high affininity” glutamate transporters

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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