The phytohormone abscisic acid exists in animal tissues particularly in the brain. However, its neurophysiological effects have not yet been fully clarified. This study was designed to evaluate the possible antinociceptive effects of abscisic acid on animal models of pain and determine its possible signaling mechanism.
Tail-flick, hot-plate and formalin tests were used to assess the nociceptive threshold. All experiments were carried out on male Wistar rats. To determine the role of Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor β/δ (PPARβ/δ) and opioid receptors on the induction of abscisic acid antinociception, specific antagonists were injected 15 min before abscisic acid.
The data showed that abscisic acid (5, 10 and 15 μg/rat, i.c.v.) significantly decreased pain responses in formalin test. In addition, it could also produce dose-dependent antinociceptive effect in tail-flick and hot-plate tests. Administration of PPARβ/δ antagonist (GSK0660, 80 nM, i.c.v.) significantly attenuated the antinociceptive effect of abscisic acid in all tests. The antinociceptive effects of abscisic acid were completely inhibited by naloxone (6 μg, i.c.v.) during the time course of tail-flick and hot-plate tests.
The results indicated that the central injection of abscisic acid has potent pain-relieving property which is mediated partly via the PPAR β/δ and opioid signaling.