Anti-hyperalgesic and anti-allodynic effects of intrathecal nociceptin/orphanin FQ in rats after spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury and inflammation

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We examined the effects of intrathecal nociceptin, the endogenous ligand for the orphan opioid receptor-like receptor, on abnormal pain-related behaviors in rats after carrageenan-induced inflammation and photochemically-induced peripheral nerve or spinal cord ischemic injury. Intrathecal nociceptin dose-dependently alleviated mechanical and cold allodynia-like behavior in the two models of neuropathic pain. The heat hyperalgesia associated with peripheral inflammation was also significantly reduced, although the efficacy of the anti-hyperalgesic effect of nociceptin in the inflammation model was decreased. Intrathecal nociceptin also induced significant antinociceptin on the tail-flick test in all three groups of rats. However, the antinociceptive effect of nociceptin was significantly reduced in rats with peripheral nerve injury. These results indicated that spinally administered nociceptin has anti-allodynic and anti-hyperalgesic effects in animal models of tonic or chronic pain of different origins. Peripheral inflammation and nerve injury may induce spinal plasticity which leads to altered potency and efficacy of nociceptin.

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