Pre-injury administration of morphine prevents development of neuropathic hyperalgesia through activation of descending monoaminergic mechanisms in the spinal cord in mice.

Division of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan.
Molecular Pain (Impact Factor: 3.77). 02/2005; 1:19. DOI: 10.1186/1744-8069-1-19
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present study examined whether pre-injury administration of morphine can prevent partial sciatic nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain in mice. We observed that pre-injury administration of subcutaneous (s.c.) and intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) morphine dose-dependently prevented the development of both thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia at 7 days following nerve injury in mice. The pre-injury morphine (s.c.)-induced analgesia was significantly blocked by pretreatment with naloxone injected s.c. or i.c.v., but not i.t., suggesting that systemic morphine produced the pre-emptying effects mainly by acting at the supra-spinal sites. Since it is believed that activation of descending monoaminergic mechanisms in spinal cord largely contributes to the supra-spinal analgesic effects of morphine, we investigated the involvement of serotonergic and noradrenergic mechanisms in spinal cord in the pre-injury morphine-induced analgesic effects. We found that pre-injury s.c. morphine-induced analgesic effect was significantly blocked by i.t. pretreatment with serotonergic antagonist, methysergide and noradrenergic antagonist, phentolamine. In addition, pre-injury i.t. injection of serotonin uptake inhibitor, fluoxetine and alpha2-adrenergic agonist, clonidine significantly prevented the neuropathic hyperalgesia. We next examined whether pre-injury morphine prevented the expression of neuronal hyperactivity markers such as c-Fos and protein kinase C gamma (PKCgamma) in the spinal dorsal horn. We found that pre-injury administration of s.c. morphine prevented increased expressions of both c-Fos and PKCgamma observed following nerve injury. Similar results were obtained with i.t. fluoxetine and clonidine. Altogether these results suggest that pre-injury administration of morphine might prevent the development of neuropathic pain through activation of descending monoaminergic pain inhibitory pathways.

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