Autonomic neuroscience : basic & clinical

Dexmedetomidine alleviates rat post-ischemia induced allodynia through GRK2 upregulation in superior cervical ganglia.

PMID 25466829


A transient decrease in G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) in nociceptors can produce long-lasting neuroplastic changes in nociceptor function, eventually enhancing and prolonging inflammatory hyperalgesia. Here, we investigated the effects of selective α2-adrenoceptor agonist dexmedetomidine (DMED) on GRK2 expression in superior cervical ganglion (SCG) in a rat model of complex regional pain syndrome type I (CRPS-I). The ipsilateral 50% paw withdrawal thresholds (PWTs) to mechanical stimuli decreased significantly starting from 24 h after ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, and lasted for over 3 weeks; the ipsilateral cold allodynia scores, GRK2 protein and mRNA levels in SCGs all increased significantly. No significant differences were found in the contralateral side except GRK2 mRNA reduced significantly after 48 h I/R injury, but still higher than those in the ipsilateral side. Following daily injection of 10 μg/kg of DMED for a maximum of 7 days, the ipsilateral PWTs on days 1, 2, 7, 14, and 21 after DMED administration were significantly higher than those in control group; the GRK2 protein and mRNA expressions in the ipsilateral SCGs were also significantly upregulated; the ipsilateral cold allodynia scores were significantly reduced. No significant differences were found in the contralateral 50%PWTs, cold allodynia scores, and GRK2 protein level except GRK2 mRNA levels increased significantly on days 1 to 7 after DMED administration. Therefore, a transient decrease of GRK2 expression in SCG neurons might be involved in the development and maintenance of allodynia in CRPS-I and DMED might alleviate this allodynia through GRK2 upregulation in SCG neurons.