Harasawa I, Johansen J, Fields H, Porreca F, Meng I (2016) Alterations in the rostral ventromedial medulla after the selective ablation of μ-opioid receptor expressing neurons. Pain 157:166-173. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000344
Summary: The rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) has both excitatory and inhibitory control over nociceptive neurons in the medullary dorsal horn and spinal cord. Previous work has demonstrated that elimination of mu-opioid receptor-expressing neurons in the RVM reduces stress and injury-induced behavioral hypersensitivity, but the effect of losing these cells on the descending inhibitory system has not been examined. The authors administered 1.2 pmol of Dermorphin-SAP (Cat. #IT-12) to each side of the RVM of rats. Saporin (Cat. #PR-01) was used as a control. Characterization of RVM neurons in lesioned animals showed a reduction in on- and off-cells, but no change in the number of neutral cells. These data indicate that mu-opioid receptor-expressing cells in the RVM are not needed for analgesia produced by activation of RVM neurons.