Centralization of noxious stimulus-induced analgesia (NSIA) is related to activity at inhibitory synapses in the spinal cord

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Abstract

The duration of noxious stimulus-induced antinociception (NSIA) has been shown to outlast the pain stimulus that elicited it, however, the mechanism that determines the duration of analgesia is unknown. We evaluated the role of spinal excitatory and inhibitory receptors (NMDA, mGluR5, μ-opioid, GABAA, and GABAB), previously implicated in NSIA initiation, in its maintenance. As in our previous studies, the supraspinal trigeminal jaw-opening reflex (JOR) in the rat was used for nociceptive testing because of its remoteness from the region of drug application, the lumbar spinal cord. NSIA was reversed by antagonists for two inhibitory receptors (GABAB and μ-opioid) but not by antagonists for either of the two excitatory receptors (NMDA and mGluR5), indicating that NSIA is maintained by ongoing activity at inhibitory synapses in the spinal cord. Furthermore, spinal administration of the GABAB agonist baclofen mimicked NSIA in that it could be blocked by prior injection of the μ-opioid receptor antagonist H-D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Arg-Thr-Pen-Thr-NH2 (CTAP) in nucleus accumbens. CTAP also blocked baclofen antinociception when administered in the spinal cord. We conclude that analgesia induced by noxious stimulation is maintained by activity in spinal inhibitory receptors.

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