Journal of neurophysiology

Dorsal striatum metabotropic glutamate receptor 8 affects nocifensive responses and rostral ventromedial medulla cell activity in neuropathic pain conditions.

PMID 24304862


The present study investigated the role of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 8 (mGluR8) in the dorsal striatum (DS) in modulating thermonociception and rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) ON and OFF cell activities in conditions of neuropathic pain induced by spared nerve injury (SNI) of the sciatic nerve in rats. The role of DS mGluR8 on mechanical allodynia was also investigated. Intra-DS (S)-3,4-dicarboxyphenylglycine [(S)-3,4-DCPG], a selective mGluR8 agonist, did not modify the activity of the ON and OFF cells in sham-operated rats. In SNI rats, which showed a reduction of the mechanical withdrawal threshold, intra-DS microinjection of (S)-3,4-DCPG inhibited the ongoing and tail flick-evoked activity of the ON cells while increasing the activity of the OFF cells. AZ12216052, a selective mGluR8 positive allosteric modulator (PAM), behaved like (S)-3,4-DCPG in increasing tail flick latency and OFF cell activity and decreasing ON cell activity in SNI rats only but was less potent. VU0155041, a selective mGluR4 PAM, was ineffective in changing thermal nociception and ON and OFF cell activity in both sham-operated and SNI rats. (S)-3,4-DCPG did not change mechanical withdrawal threshold in sham-operated rats but increased it in SNI rats. Furthermore, a decreased level of mGluR8 gene and immunoreactivity, expressed on GABAergic terminals, associated with a protein increase was found in the DS of SNI rats. These results suggest that stimulation of mGluR8 inhibits thermoceptive responses and mechanical allodynia. These effects were associated with inhibition of ON cells and stimulation of OFF cells within RVM.