Tavares I, Cobos AR, Almeida A, Lima D (2002) The dyssynaptic pathway from the caudal ventrolateral medulla to the spinal cord is relevant for pain modulation. Neuroscience 2002 Abstracts 351.21. Society for Neuroscience, Orlando, FL.
Summary: The caudal ventrolateral medulla (VLM) exerts α2-adrenoreceptor mediated inhibition of pain transmission at the spinal cord. Anatomical studies described a dysynaptic pathway, connecting the VLM with the spinal cord through the A5 noradrenergic cell group, in which the spinally-projecting A5 noradrenergic neurons give collaterals to the VLM. In order to evaluate the role of the VLM-A5-spinal pathway in pain modulation, retrograde transport of the neurotoxin saporin-anti-dopamine-β-hydroxylase (SAP-anti-DBH) from the VLM was used. The VLM of Wistar rats was injected with 0.5μl of a 1% SAP-anti-DBH solution or saline (control group). Four days later, all animals were injected with 50 μl of 5% formalin in the ipsilateral hindpaw, and pain behavior and noxious-evoked spinal c-fos expression, were evaluated. In the SAP-anti-DBH group, a 27% decrease in DBH-immunoreactive neuronal population at the A5 noradrenergic cell group was detected and neuronal death was confirmed by Fluojade staining. Hyperalgesia was detected in the second phase of the formalin test. The numbers of Fos-immunoreacted neurons in the spinal dorsal horn increased. The data suggest that the VLM-A5-spinal pathway participates in pain modulation. It remains to be ascertained whether the lack of effect at the first-phase of the formalin test is due to an insufficient destruction of the A5 noradrenergic cell group or whether it points to a differential effect of this pathway in the two phases of the formalin test.
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