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.
Keywords: Glutamate, peripheral nervous system, glutamate receptors, “high affininity” glutamate transporters, glutamate carboxypeptidase II
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport