[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) have been identified as significant analgesic targets. Systemic treatments with inhibitors of the enzymes that inactivate the peptide transmitter N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), an mGluR3 agonist, have an analgesia-like effect in rat models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. The goal of this study was to begin defining locations within the central pain pathway at which NAAG activation of its receptor mediates this effect. RESULTS: NAAG immunoreactivity was found in neurons in two brain regions that mediate nociceptive processing, the periaqueductal gray (PAG) and the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM). Microinjection of the NAAG peptidase inhibitor ZJ43 into the PAG contralateral, but not ipsilateral, to the formalin injected footpad reduced the rapid and slow phases of the nociceptive response in a dose-dependent manner. ZJ43 injected into the RVM also reduced the rapid and slow phase of the response. The group II mGluR antagonist LY341495 blocked these effects of ZJ43 on the PAG and RVM. NAAG peptidase inhibition in the PAG and RVM did not affect the thermal withdrawal response in the hot plate test. Footpad inflammation also induced a significant increase in glutamate release in the PAG. Systemic injection of ZJ43 increased NAAG levels in the PAG and RVM and blocked the inflammation-induced increase in glutamate release in the PAG. CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate a behavioral and neurochemical role for NAAG in the PAG and RVM in regulating the spinal motor response to inflammation and that NAAG peptidase inhibition has potential as an approach to treating inflammatory pain via either the ascending (PAG) and/or the descending pain pathways (PAG and RVM) that warrants further study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 26RFa and QRFP are endogenous ligands of GPR103. 26RFa binding sites are widely distributed in the brain and the spinal cord where they are involved in processing pain. In the present study, the effects of intrathecal and intracerebroventricular applications of 26RFa on the level of mechanical allodynia induced by partial sciatic nerve ligation were examined in rats. The level of mechanical allodynia was measured using von Frey filaments. Intrathecal and intracerebroventricular injection of 26RFa attenuated the level of mechanical allodynia. 26RFa has been reported to activate not only GPR103 but also neuropeptide FF2 receptor and the effect of intrathecally and intracerebroventricularly administered 26RFa was not antagonized by BIBP3226, an antagonist of neuropeptide FF receptor. Immunohistochemical examination revealed that QRFP-like immunoreactivity (QRFP-LI) was expressed mainly in the small to medium sized neurons in the L5 dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and that partial sciatic nerve injury increased the percentage of QRFP-LI positive neurons. 7 days after the nerve injury, QRFP-LI positive neurons in the L5 DRG ipsilateral to the partial sciatic nerve injury were larger than those in the L5 DRG ipsilateral to the sham operation. These data suggest that (1) exogenously applied 26RFa modulates nociceptive transmission at the spinal and the supraspinal brain in the neuropathic pain model, (2) the mechanism 26RFa uses to produce an anti-allodynic effect may be mediated by the activation of GPR103, and (3) partial sciatic nerve ligation affects the expression of QRFP-LI in the dorsal root ganglion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GPR103 is one of the orphan G protein-coupled receptors. Recently, an endogenous ligand for GPR103, 26RFa, was identified. Many 26RFa binding sites have been observed in various nuclei of the brain involved in the processing of pain such as the parafascicular thalamic nucleus, the locus coeruleus, the dorsal raphe nucleus, and the parabrachial nucleus. In the present study, the effects of intracerebroventricular injection of 26RFa were tested in the rat. Intracerebroventricular injection of 26RFa significantly decreased the number of both phase 1 and phase 2 agitation behaviors induced by paw formalin injection. This analgesic effect of 26RFa on the phase 1 response, but not phase 2 response, was antagonized by BIBP3226, a mixed antagonist of neuropeptide Y Y1 and neuropeptide FF receptors. Intracerebroventricular injection of 26RFa has no effect in the 52.5 degrees C hot plate test. Intracerebroventricular injection of 26RFa had no effect on the expression of Fos-like immunoreactivity induced by paw formalin injection in the superficial layers of the spinal dorsal horn. These data suggest that (1) 26RFa modulates nociceptive transmission at the supraspinal site during a formalin test, (2) the mechanism 26RFa uses to produce an analgesic effect on the phase 1 response is different from that on the phase 2 response, and (3) intracerebroventricularly injected 26RFa dose not directly inhibit the nociceptive input to the spinal cord.