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Nociceptive effects of neurotensin(NTS)- and somatostatin(SST)-toxin conjugates applied to the lumbar dorsal horn in rats

Wiley RG (2015) Nociceptive effects of neurotensin(NTS)- and somatostatin(SST)-toxin conjugates applied to the lumbar dorsal horn in rats. Neuroscience 2015 Abstracts 418.11/O12. Society for Neuroscience, Chicago IL.

Summary: Intrathecal injections of NTS or SST have been reported to be anti-nociceptive, and in the case of SST, analgesic in humans. Preliminary experiments in our lab previously showed that lumbar intrathecal injection of the excitatory neuropeptide, NTS, or the inhibitory neuropeptide, SST, conjugated to the ribosome inactivating protein, saporin (sap), produced compulsive scratching/biting of hindquarters resulting in loss of fur and skin. This was thought likely due to pain and/or itching from selective loss of superficial dorsal horn nociceptive inhibitory interneurons expressing NTS receptors. Subsequent experiments using lumbar intrathecal injections of NTS-cholera toxin A chain conjugate resulted in prolonged anti-nociception on hotplate, tail flick and von Frey testing, that was not reversed by naloxone and lasted several days, likely due to sustained activation of the same neurons. The present study sought to determine if the lesions produced by NTS-sap or SST-sap alter nociceptive responses. In the present study, rats, under isoflurane anesthesia, were injected intrathecally using temporarily-placed subarachnoid catheters over the lumbar enlargement with 10 ul of sterile preservative-free normal saline containing either 300-400 ng of NTS-sap, 1 ug of SST-sap or 1 ug blank-sap (control) from Advanced Targeting Systems, San Diego, CA. Catheters were flushed with an additional 10 ul of saline. After post-surgical recovery, the rats were then observed for scratching/biting their hindquarters, nocifensive responses on the hotplate, von Frey mechanical probing of the hindpaws, and on operant thermal escape. 4 of 11 NTS-saporin rats and 5 of 9 SST-saporin rats, but none of 9 blank-saporin rats began scratching within 8-47 days after toxin conjugate injection. Hotplate nocifensive reflex testing at 44.5°C and 47°C showed no significant difference between the groups. Von Frey, operant thermal escape testing and anatomic studies are in progress to further specify the functional effects of the toxin conjugate injections and to identify the dorsal horn neurons being destroyed. The results to date are interpreted as consistent with a possibly unique role for NTS and/or SST receptor-expressing superficial dorsal horn inhibitory interneurons in nociception and/or itch. Excitatory/activating moieties such as cholera toxin A subunit targeted by conjugation to NTS or SST may offer a novel approach to enhance inhibition in nociceptive dorsal horn neurons and to produce analgesia by a non-opioid mechanism.

Related Products: Neurotensin-CTA (Cat. #IT-60), Neurotensin-SAP (Cat. #IT-56), Blank-SAP (Cat. #IT-21), Custom Conjugates