Spinal nociceptin mediates electroacupuncture-related modulation of visceral sympathoexcitatory reflex responses in rats

Department of Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.
AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology (Impact Factor: 4.01). 07/2009; 297(2):H859-65. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00149.2009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The role of nociceptin and its spinal cord neural pathways in electroacupuncture (EA)-related inhibition of visceral excitatory reflexes is not clear. Nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) is an endogenous ligand for a G protein-coupled receptor, called the N/OFQ peptide (NOP) receptor, which has been found to be distributed in the spinal cord. The present study investigated the importance of this system in visceral-cardiovascular reflex modulation during EA. Cardiovascular pressor reflex responses were induced by gastric distension in Sprague-Dawley rats anesthetized by ketamine and xylazine. An intrathecal injection of nociceptin (10 nM) at T1-2 attenuated the pressor responses by 35%, similar to the influence of EA at P 5-6 (42% decrease). An intrathecal injection of the NOP antagonist, [N-Phe(1)]nociceptin(1-13) NH(2), partially reversed the EA response. Pretreatment with the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone did not alter the EA-like inhibitory effect of nociceptin on the pressor reflex, whereas a combination of nociceptin receptor antagonist with naloxone completely abolished the EA response. An intrathecal injection of nociceptin attenuated the pressor responses to the electrical stimulation of the rostral ventrolateral medulla by 46%, suggesting that nociceptin can regulate sympathetic outflow. Furthermore, a bilateral microinjection of NOP antagonist into either the dorsal horn or the intermediolateral column at T1 partially reversed the EA inhibitory effect. These results suggest that nociceptin in the spinal cord mediates part of the EA-related modulation of visceral reflex responses.

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