Role of CRF1 receptor in post-incisional plasma extravasation and nociceptive responses in mice
The corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is involved in a number of physiological functions including pain perception. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of CRF1 receptor in the long-lasting post-surgical changes in somatic nociceptive thresholds and in local inflammatory responses, using genetically engineered mice lacking functional CRF1 receptor. Animals underwent a plantar incision under anaesthesia with remifentanil (80 μg/kg s.c.) and sevoflurane. Mechanical thresholds (von Frey) and plasma extravasation (Evan's blue) were evaluated at different time points. On postoperative day 20, mechanical thresholds had returned to baseline in CD1 mice (3.07 ± 6.21%), while B6,129CRHtklee mice presented significant hyperalgesia, which was similar in wild-type (WT) (− 29.81 ± 8.89%) and CRF1 receptor knockout (KO) (− 37.10 ± 10.75%) mice, showing strain differences. The administration of naloxone (1 mg/kg, s.c.) on postoperative day 21 produced hyperalgesia revealing surgery-induced latent pain sensitization. The extent of hyperalgesia was greater in KO versus WT mice, suggesting a role of CRF1 receptors in the upward modulation of endogenous opioid release. Furthermore, two days after surgery, plasma extravasation returned to baseline in WT mice but remained elevated in KO mice. In non-manipulated B6,129CRHtklee KO mice we observed an increase in the number of writhes (41.25 ± 11.36) versus WT (23.80 ± 4.71), while in the tail immersion test no differences could be detected. Our results show that CRF/CRF1 receptors seem to be a protective role in latent pain sensitization induced by surgery and in the local inflammatory response to injury.