Galectin-1 is one of the endogenous-galactoside-binding lectins, suggested to be involved in a variety of functions, such as neurite outgrowth, synaptic connectivity, cell proliferation and apoptosis. This protein is expressed in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and the spinal cord in the developing and adult rats, especially intensely in small DRG neurons. In the present study, we examined whether galectin-1 is colocalized with TrkA or c-Ret mRNA in small DRG neurons and the effect of axotomy on the expression of galectin-1 in the spinal cord. About 20% of the DRG neurons showed intense galectin-1-immunoreactivity (IR). Of the intensely galectin-1-IR DRG neurons, 93.9% displayed c-Ret mRNA positive signals. On the other hand, only 6.8% displayed TrkA mRNA positive signals. Galectin-1-IR was increased in the dorsal horn at 1 to 2 weeks after axotomy. Intrathecal administration of anti-recombinant human galectin-1 antibody (anti-rhGAL-1 Ab) partially but significantly attenuated the upregulation of substance P receptor (SPR) in the spinal dorsal horn and the mechanical hypersensitivity induced by the peripheral nerve injury. These data suggest that endogenous galectin-1 may potentiate neuropathic pain after the peripheral nerve injury at least partly by increasing SPR in the dorsal horn.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid (No. 13480253) for scientific research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan, and a grant from 2000 Wakayama Medical Award for Young Researchers.
- Dorsal horn
- Dorsal root ganglion
- Nerve injury
- Neuropathic pain