Molecular pain

Serotonin receptors are involved in the spinal mediation of descending facilitation of surgical incision-induced increase of Fos-like immunoreactivity in rats.

PMID 20331882


Descending pronociceptive pathways may be implicated in states of persistent pain. Paw skin incision is a well-established postoperative pain model that causes behavioral nociceptive responses and enhanced excitability of spinal dorsal horn neurons. The number of spinal c-Fos positive neurons of rats treated intrathecally with serotonin, noradrenaline or acetylcholine antagonists where evaluated to study the descending pathways activated by a surgical paw incision. The number of c-Fos positive neurons in laminae I/II ipsilateral, lamina V bilateral to the incised paw, and in lamina X significantly increased after the incision. These changes: remained unchanged in phenoxybenzamine-treated rats; were increased in the contralateral lamina V of atropine-treated rats; were inhibited in the ipsilateral lamina I/II by 5-HT1/2B/2C (methysergide), 5-HT2A (ketanserin) or 5-HT1/2A/2C/5/6/7 (methiothepin) receptors antagonists, in the ipsilateral lamina V by methysergide or methiothepin, in the contralateral lamina V by all the serotonergic antagonists and in the lamina X by LY 278,584, ketanserin or methiothepin. We conclude: (1) muscarinic cholinergic mechanisms reduce incision-induced response of spinal neurons inputs from the contralateral paw; (2) 5-HT1/2A/2C/3 receptors-mediate mechanisms increase the activity of descending pathways that facilitates the response of spinal neurons to noxious inputs from the contralateral paw; (3) 5-HT1/2A/2C and 5-HT1/2C receptors increases the descending facilitation mechanisms induced by incision in the ipsilateral paw; (4) 5-HT2A/3 receptors contribute to descending pronociceptive pathways conveyed by lamina X spinal neurons; (5) alpha-adrenergic receptors are unlikely to participate in the incision-induced facilitation of the spinal neurons.

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Phenoxybenzamine hydrochloride, ≥97%, powder
C18H22ClNO · HCl