Burgess SE, Vanderah TW, Mantyh PW, Malan Jr TP, Ossipov MH, Lappi D, Lai J, Porreca F (2000) Dermorphin-saporin targets tonic descending facilitation in the rostral ventromedial medulla to block and reverse neuropathic pain. Neuroscience 2000 Abstracts 243.6. Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA.
Summary: The hypothesis that chronic pain from L5/L6 spinal nerve ligation (SNL) is due to tonic activation of descending pain facilitation mechanisms was explored by selective targeting mu (μ) opioid receptor expressing cells in the RVM (i.e., presumably, ON cells). Rats were treated with a single RVM injection of dermorphin (DERM)(μ agonist), saporin (SAP), or dermorphin-saporin conjugate (DERM-SAP) and responses to non-noxious (von Frey filaments) or noxious (Hargreave’s test) stimuli characterized. DERM-SAP retained high affinity for μ receptors and acutely produced antinociception (tail-flick test), indicating agonist actions of the conjugate. Decreased staining of μ receptor-expressing cells was seen in superficial dorsal horn and in dorsal root ganglia 28 days after intrathecal injection of DERM-SAP, but not DERM or SAP. RVM DERM-SAP, DERM or SAP did not significantly alter baseline thresholds to von Frey filaments or noxious heat applied to the paw over 28 days. At day 28, RVM pretreated rats were subjected to sham- or SNL surgery and responses to tactile and heat stimuli monitored 7 days later (i.e., 35 days after the RVM pretreatment). DERM and SAP pretreated SNL rats showed the expected development of tactile allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia, while DERM-SAP pretreated rats did not. The RVM pretreatments did not alter responses in sham-operated controls. Administration of RVM DERM-SAP, but not SAP or DERM, to SNL rats showed full reversal of established allodynia/hyperalgesia by day 14. RVM pretreatment with β-funaltrexamine (β-FNA; opioid μ antagonist) prevented the antiallodynic and antihyperalgesic effects of subsequent DERM-SAP injection. These data, together with findings of blockade of SNL pain with RVM lidocaine or lesions of the dorsolateral funiculus, support the possibility of tonic activation of descending facilitation as a basis for chronic neuropathic pain.
Related Products: Dermorphin-SAP / MOR-SAP (Cat. #IT-12)