Nitric oxide contributes to the spinal nociceptive processing

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Abstract

NADPH-diaphorase-containing neurons (it is supposed that this enzyme is a form of NO-synthase, NOS) were histochemically identified in the spinal cord of rats. In another set of the experiments, we identified neurons -sources of spinothalamic and spinomesencephalic pathways - by their retrograde labelling with Fluoro-Gold (FG) injected into the thalamus and periaqueductal gray substance. It was shown that NOS-containing spinal cells are, as a rule, propriospinal intersegmental or intrasegmental interneurons. We discuss the possible involvement of these cells in the “inhibition-of-inhibition” processes and in potentiation of the synaptic transmission in spinal neurons under conditions of the development of tonic or chronic pain. In rats, the number of NOS-containing neurons, which are also retrogradely labelled with FG after dye injection into the thalamus and midbrain, Is rather limited.

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