Primary sensory neuronal expression of SLURP-1, an endogenous nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligand

Yasuhiro Moriwaki, Yosuke Watanabe, Tomoe Shinagawa, Miho Kai, Mai Miyazawa, Takashi Okuda, Koichiro Kawashima, Atsuko Yabashi, Satoshi Waguri, Hidemi Misawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Secreted mammalian Ly6/urokinase plasminogen activator receptor-related protein-1 (SLURP-1) is a recently identified, endogenous ligand of the α7 subunit of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. SLURP-1 is also the causative gene for an autosomal recessive palmoplantar keratoderma, Mal de Meleda. Although the function of SLURP-1 in keratinocyte development and differentiation has been extensively studied, little is known about its role in the nervous system. In the present study, we analyzed SLURP-1 expression in the spinal cord of rats, as a number of studies suggest spinal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are important modulators of pain transmission. We detected intense SLURP-1 immunoreactivity in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, especially in lamina I and outer II. In dorsal root ganglia, SLURP-1 immunoreactivity was detected in small- to medium-sized neurons, where in situ hybridization also revealed the presence of SLURP-1 mRNA. Fluorescent labeling of SLURP-1 partially overlapped that of calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP) or substance P (SP) in both the spinal cord dorsal horn and glabrous skin, and electron microscopic analysis revealed colocalization of SLURP-1 with SP or CGRP, in large synaptic vesicles in terminals within the superficial layer of the spinal cord. Finally, sciatic nerve axotomy reduced levels of SLURP-1 immunoreactivity in parallel with that of SP and CGRP in the ipsilateral superficial dorsal horn. These findings suggest that SLURP-1 is expressed in a subset of primary peptidergic sensory neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug


  • Allosteric modulator
  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Nociception
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord
  • α7 subunit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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