Neurotensin (NT) acts as a primary neurotransmitter and neuromodulator in the CNS and has been involved in a number of CNS pathologies including epilepsy. NT mediates its central and peripheral effects by interacting with the NTSR1, NTSR2, and Sort1/NTSR3 receptor subtypes. To date, little is known about the precise expression of the NT receptors in brain neural cells and their regulation in pathology. In the present work, we studied the cellular distribution of the NTSR2 protein in the rat hippocampus and questioned whether its expression was modulated in conditions of neuroinflammation using a model of temporal lobe epilepsy induced by pilocarpine. This model is characterized by a rapid and intense inflammatory reaction with reactive gliosis in the hippocampus. We show that NTSR2 protein is expressed in hippocampal astrocytes and its expression increases together with astrocyte reactivity following induction of status epilepticus. NTSR2 immunoreactivity is also increased in astrocytes proximal to blood vessels and their end-feet, and in endothelial cells. Proinflammatory factors such as IL1β and LPS induced NTSR2 mRNA and protein in cultured astroglial cells. Antagonizing NTSR2 with SR142948A decreased NTSR2 expression as well as astroglial reactivity. Together, our results suggest that NTSR2 is implicated in astroglial and gliovascular inflammation and that targeting the NTSR2 receptor may open new avenues in the regulation of neuroinflammation in CNS diseases.
Online article