Brain stem opioidergic and GABAergic neurons mediate the antinociceptive effect of nitrous oxide in Fischer rats.


BACKGROUND:Recent studies have revealed that N2O exerts its antinociceptive effect by inducing opioid peptide release in the brain stem, thereby activating the descending noradrenergic inhibitory neurons, which modulate pain processing in the spinal cord. However, the precise neuronal pathways that mediate these events remain to be determined. METHODS:Using immunohistochemical and behavioral techniques in adult male Fischer rats, the authors studied the involvement of brain stem opioidergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid-mediated (GABAergic) neurons in the N2O-induced antinociceptive effect using discrete microinjections of an opioid receptor antagonist or GABAergic activator into the periaqueductal gray area and pontine noradrenergic nuclei. They used c-Fos expression as an immunohistochemical mark of neuronal activation induced by N2O and the plantar test as the behavioral paradigm for nociception. RESULTS:Microinjection of either naloxone (an opioid receptor antagonist) or muscimol (a gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor type A agonist) into the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray area inhibited N2O-induced c-Fos expression in the spinal cord and pontine noradrenergic nuclei, particularly in the A7. Microinjection of either naloxone or muscimol into the A7 nuclei also inhibited N2O-induced c-Fos expression in the spinal cord and the N2O-induced antinociceptive effect by the plantar test. CONCLUSIONS:These results support the hypothesis that both opioidergic and GABAergic neurons mediate the antinociceptive effect of N2O at the periaqueductal gray area and A7 in the brain stem. The authors postulate that N2O-induced opioid peptide release leads to inhibition of GABAergic neurons via opioid receptors. The descending noradrenergic inhibitory pathways, which are tonically inhibited by these gamma-aminobutyric acid neurons, are thereby activated (disinhibited) and modulate pain processing in the spinal cord.






Ohashi Y,Guo T,Orii R,Maze M,Fujinaga M




Has Abstract


2003-10-01 00:00:00














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