- Inter-strain differences of serotonergic inhibitory pain control in inbred mice (2010)
- Background: Descending inhibitory pain control contributes to the endogenous defense against chronic pain and involves noradrenergic and serotonergic systems. The clinical efficacy of antidepressants suggests that serotonin may be particularly relevant for neuropathic pain conditions. Serotonergic signaling is regulated by synthesis, metabolisms, reuptake and receptors. To address the complexity, we used inbred mouse strains, C57BL/6J, 129 Sv, DBA/2J and Balb/c, which differ in brain serotonin levels. Results: Serotonin analysis after nerve injury revealed inter-strain differences in the adaptation of descending serotonergic fibers. Upregulation of spinal cord and midbrain serotonin was apparent only in 129 Sv mice and was associated with attenuated nerve injury evoked hyperalgesia and allodynia in this strain. The increase of dorsal horn serotonin was blocked by hemisectioning of descending fibers but not by rhizotomy of primary afferents indicating a midbrain source. Para-chlorophenylalanine-mediated serotonin depletion in spinal cord and midbrain intensified pain hypersensitivity in the nerve injury model. In contrast, chronic inflammation of the hindpaw did not evoke equivalent changes in serotonin levels in the spinal cord and midbrain and nociceptive thresholds dropped in a parallel manner in all strains. Conclusion: The results suggest that chronic nerve injury evoked hypernociception may be contributed by genetic differences of descending serotonergic inhibitory control.
- Consequences of altered eicosanoid patterns for nociceptive processing in mPGES-1-deficient mice (2007)
- Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-dependent prostaglandin (PG) E2 synthesis in the spinal cord plays a major role in the development of inflammatory hyperalgesia and allodynia. Microsomal PGE2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) isomerizes COX-2-derived PGH2 to PGE2. Here, we evaluated the effect of mPGES-1-deficiency on the noci-ceptive behavior in various models of nociception that depend on PGE2 synthesis. Surprisingly, in the COX-2-dependent zymosan-evoked hyperalgesia model, the nociceptive behavior was not reduced in mPGES-1-deficient mice despite a marked decrease of the spinal PGE2 synthesis. Similarly, the nociceptive behavior was unaltered in mPGES-1-deficient mice in the formalin test. Importantly, spinal cords and primary spinal cord cells derived from mPGES-1-deficient mice showed a redirection of the PGE2 synthesis to PGD2, PGF2α and 6-keto-PGF1α (stable metabolite of PGI2). Since the latter prostaglandins serve also as mediators of noci-ception they may compensate the loss of PGE2 synthesis in mPGES-1-deficient mice.
- Antinociceptive activity of the S1P-receptor agonist FTY720 (2008)
- FTY720 is a novel immunosuppressive drug that inhibits the egress of lymphocytes from secondary lymphoid tissues and thymus. In its phosphorylated form FTY720 is a potent S1P receptor agonist. Recently it was also shown that FTY720 can reduce prostaglandin synthesis through the direct inhibition of the cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2). Since prostaglandins are important mediators of nociception, we studied the effects of FTY720 in different models of nociception. We found that intraperitoneal administration of FTY720 reduced dose-dependently the nociceptive behaviour of rats in the formalin assay. Although the antinociceptive doses of FTY720 were too low to alter the lymphocyte count, prostanoid concentrations in the plasma were dramatically reduced. Surprisingly, intrathecally administered FTY720 reduced the nociceptive behaviour in the formalin assay without altering spinal prostaglandin synthesis, indicating that additional antinociceptive mechanisms beside the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis are involved. Accordingly, FTY720 reduced also the nociceptive behaviour in the spared nerve injury model for neuropathic pain which does not depend on prostaglandin synthesis. In this model the antinociceptive effect of FTY720 was similar to gabapentin, a commonly used drug to treat neuropathic pain. Taken together we show for the first time that FTY720 possesses antinociceptive properties and that FTY720 reduces nociceptive behaviour during neuropathic pain.