Do the distinct synaptic properties of VGLUTs shape pain?

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The somatosensory system transmits touch, temperature, itch and pain. Three vesicular glutamate transporter isoforms mediate the release of glutamate throughout the mammalian nervous system with largely non-overlapping distributions and unique roles at the synapse. This review discusses the contribution of each of these essential transporters to circuits underlying pain and other somatosensory behaviors throughout postnatal development and in the adult. A better understanding of the individual contributions of the VGLUT isoforms could provide new avenues for therapeutic intervention.

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