[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Herkinorin is the first μ opioid (MOP) selective agonist derived from salvinorin A, a hallucinogenic natural product. Previous work has shown that, unlike other opioids, herkinorin does not promote the recruitment of β-arrestin-2 to the MOP receptor and does not lead to receptor internalization. This paper presents the first in vivo evaluation of herkinorin's antinociceptive effects in rats, using the formalin test as a model of tonic inflammatory pain. Herkinorin was found to produce a dose-dependent decrease in the number of flinches evoked by formalin. These antinociceptive effects were substantially blocked by pretreatment with the nonselective antagonist naloxone, indicating that the antinociception is mediated by opioid receptors. Contralateral administration of herkinorin did not attenuate the number of flinches evoked by formalin, indicating that its effects are peripherally restricted to the site of injection. Following chronic administration (5-day), herkinorin maintained antinociceptive efficacy in both phases of the formalin test. Furthermore, unlike morphine, herkinorin was still able to inhibit flinching in both phases of the formalin test in animals made tolerant to chronic systemic morphine treatment. Collectively, these results suggest that herkinorin may produce peripheral antinociception with decreased tolerance liability and thereby represents a promising template for the development of agents for the treatment of a variety of pain states.
Drug and alcohol dependence 11/2011; 121(3):181-8. · 3.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied sensitization of retrogradely labeled bladder sensory neurons and plasticity of P2X receptor function in a model of cystitis using patch-clamp techniques. Saline (control) or cyclophosphamide (CYP) was given intraperitoneally to rats on days 0, 2, and 4. On day 5, lumbosacral (LS, L6-S2) or thoracolumbar (TL, T12-L2) dorsal root ganglia were removed and dissociated. Bladders from CYP-treated rats showed partial loss of the urothelium and greater myeloperoxidase activity compared with controls. Bladder neurons from CYP-treated rats were increased in size (based on whole cell capacitance) compared with controls and exhibited lower activation threshold, increased action potential width, and greater number of action potentials in response to current injection or application of purinergic agonists. Most control LS bladder neurons (>85%) responded to ATP or alpha,beta-metATP with a slowly desensitizing current; these agonists affected only half of TL neurons, producing predominantly fast/mixed desensitizing currents. CYP treatment increased the fraction of TL bladder neurons sensitive to purinergic agonists (>80%) and significantly increased current density in both LS and TL bladder neurons compared with control. Importantly, LS and TL neurons from CYP-treated rats showed a selective increase in the functional expression of heteromeric P2X(2/3) and homomeric P2X(3) receptors, respectively. Although desensitizing kinetics were slower in LS neurons from CYP-treated compared with control rats, recovery kinetics were similar. The present results demonstrate that bladder inflammation sensitizes and increases P2X receptor expression and/or function for both pelvic and lumbar splanchnic pathways, which contribute, in part, to the hypersensitivity associated with cystitis.
Journal of Neurophysiology 01/2008; 99(1):49-59. · 3.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flavonoids have been recognized as the active ingredients of many medicinal plant extracts due to interactions with proteins via phenolic groups and low toxicity. Here, we report the investigation of the flavonoid core as a potential new scaffold for the development of opioid receptor ligands. Biological results suggest that stereochemistry of the C2 and C3 positions is important for antagonist activity and selectivity. Our results also suggest that the actions of Hypericum perforatum may be mediated in part by opioid receptors.
Journal of Natural Products 09/2007; 70(8):1278-82. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation can enhance responses to different stimuli consistent with the development of hypersensitivity. To determine whether sequentially applied stimuli interact, we determined visceromotor responses (VMR) to gastric distension, measured at baseline and 60 min after instillation of saline, glycocholic acid (GCA) or ethanol through a gastrostomy in controls and rats with gastric ulcers. In another series of experiments, chemicals were administered before and 60 min after repeated distension of the stomach. Ethanol, but not saline or GCA, increased VMR in controls with a more significant rise in rats with gastric ulcerations. GCA increased responses to gastric distension in controls, whereas GCA and ethanol enhanced responses to gastric distensions in rats with gastric ulcers. Responses to saline, GCA, or ethanol were not affected by repeated noxious distension of the stomach. Luminal stimuli can trigger visceromotor responses and sensitize gastric afferents to mechanical stimulation, thus potentially contributing to dyspeptic symptoms.
Digestive Diseases and Sciences 03/2007; 52(2):488-94. · 2.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensory neurons innervating different tissues converge onto second-order neurons in the spinal cord. We examined whether inflammation or transient overexpression of nerve growth factor (NGF) in one tissue triggers hypersensitivity in referral sites. Thresholds to mechanical and thermal stimulation of the hindpaw, visceromotor responses to colorectal distension, and cystometrograms were performed in appropriate controls and mice with experimentally induced cystitis, inflammation of the hindpaw or front paw, or injection of viral vectors encoding NGF or green fluorescent protein (GFP). Cystitis and NGF but not GFP overexpression in the bladder triggered bladder hyperactivity associated with mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity in cutaneous referral sites and enhanced responses to colorectal distension. Hindpaw inflammation and injection of the NGF- but not GFP-encoding viral vector or front paw inflammation induced mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia in the affected hindpaw and increased responses to colorectal distension without altering the micturition reflex. In conclusion, sensitization of sensory pathways by inflammation or NGF contributes to the development of hypersensitivity in neighboring organs and cutaneous referral sites and provides a potential mechanism underlying the coexistence of pain syndromes in patients with functional diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic pain syndromes affecting different organs often coexist. We hypothesized that sensitization of one afferent pathway may affect converging input from other areas of the body. We induced colitis in mice with 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS); control animals were treated with equal volumes of vehicle (50% ethanol) only. Visceromotor responses to graded colorectal distension, cystometrograms, and response thresholds to mechanical and thermal stimulation of both hind paws were determined on days 7 and 14. Inflammation of colon and bladder was assessed with validated histological markers and scores. TNBS caused significant colitis on day 7 that resolved by day 14; there was no evidence of bladder inflammation. There was a significant hypersensitivity to colorectal distension on day 7, which returned to normal on day 14. This was associated with bladder overactivity, as demonstrated by early onset of micturition and more frequent micturition on day 7 after TNBS administration. Colitis also significantly altered responses to mechanical and thermal stimulation of both hind paws on day 7 but not day 14. We conclude that cross talk between afferent visceral and somatic pathways may contribute to the coexistence of pain syndromes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tissue inflammation contributes to the development of hyperalgesia, which is at least in part due to altered properties of primary afferent neurons. We hypothesized that gastric ulcers enhance the excitability of gastric sensory neurons and increase their response to purinergic agonists. The rat stomach was surgically exposed, and a retrograde tracer [1.1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3,'3-tetramethylindocarbocyanine methanesulfonate (DiI)] was injected into the wall of the distal stomach. Kissing ulcers (KUs) were produced by a single injection of acetic acid (0.1 ml for 45 s; 60%) into the clamped gastric lumen. Saline injection served as control. Gastric nodose ganglion (NG) or dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells were harvested 7 days later and acutely dissociated for whole cell recordings. Based on whole cell capacitance, gastric DRG neurons exhibited larger cell size than NG neurons. Significantly more control gastric DRG neurons compared with NG counterparts had TTX-resistant action potentials. Almost all control NG neurons (90%) compared with significantly less DRG neurons (< or =38%) responded to ATP or alpha,beta-metATP. Whereas none of the control cells exhibited spontaneous activity, about 20% of the neurons from KU animals generated spontaneous action potentials. KUs enhanced excitability as shown by a decrease in threshold for action potential generation, which was in part due to an increased input resistance. This was associated with an increase in the fraction of neurons with TTX-resistant action potentials and cells responding to capsaicin and purinergic agonists. KU doubled the current density evoked by the P2X receptor agonist alpha,beta-metATP and slowed decay of the slowly desensitizing component of the current without affecting the concentration dependence of the response. These data show that KU sensitizes vagal and spinal gastric afferents by affecting both voltage- and ligand-gated channels, thereby potentially contributing to the development of dyspeptic symptoms.
Journal of Neurophysiology 07/2005; 93(6):3112-9. · 3.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gastric acid contributes to dyspeptic symptoms, including abdominal pain, in patients with disorders of the proximal gastrointestinal tract. To examine the molecular sensor(s) of gastric acid chemonociception, we characterized acid-elicited currents in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and nodose ganglion (NG) neurons that innervate the stomach and examined their modulation after induction of gastric ulcers. A fluorescent dye (DiI) was injected into the stomach wall to retrogradely label gastric sensory neurons. After 1-2 weeks, gastric ulcers were induced by 45 s of luminal exposure of the stomach to 60% acetic acid injected into a clamped area of the distal stomach; control animals received saline. In whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings, all gastric DRG neurons and 55% of NG neurons exhibited transient, amiloride-sensitive, acid-sensing ion-channel (ASIC) currents. In the remaining 45% of NG neurons, protons activated a slow, sustained current that was attenuated by the transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 antagonist, capsazepine. The kinetics and proton sensitivity of amiloride-sensitive ASIC currents differed between NG and DRG neurons. NG neurons had a lower proton sensitivity and faster kinetics, suggesting expression of specific subtypes of ASICs in the vagal and splanchnic innervation of the stomach. Effects of Zn2+ and N,N,N',N'-tetrakis-(2-pyridylmethyl)-ethylenediamine on acid-elicited currents suggest contributions of ASIC1a and ASIC2a subunits. Gastric ulcers altered the properties of acid-elicited currents by increasing pH sensitivity and current density and changing current kinetics in gastric DRG neurons. The distinct properties of NG and DRG neurons and their modulation after injury suggest differential contributions of vagal and spinal afferent neurons to chemosensation and chemonociception.
Journal of Neuroscience 04/2005; 25(10):2617-27. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies have demonstrated that inflammation can sensitize visceral afferent neurons, contributing to the development of hyperalgesia. We hypothesized that both afferent and efferent pathways are affected, resulting in changes in motor and sensory function. Kissing ulcers (KU) were induced in the distal stomach by injecting 60% acetic acid for 45 s into a clamped area of the stomach. In controls, saline was injected into the stomach. A balloon catheter was surgically placed into the stomach, and electromyographic responses to gastric distension were recorded from the acromiotrapezius muscle at various times after ulcer induction. The accommodation reflex was assessed by slowly infusing saline into the distally occluded stomach. Gastric pressure changes in response to vagal stimulation were measured in anesthetized rats. Contractile function of circular muscle strips was examined in vitro using force-displacement transducers. KU caused gastric hypersensitivity that persisted for at least 14 days. Fluid distension of the stomach led to a rapid pressure increase in KU but not in control animals, consistent with an impaired accommodation reflex. Gastric ulcers enhanced the contractile response to vagal stimulation, whereas the effect of cholinergic stimulation on smooth muscle in vitro was not changed. These data suggest that inflammation directly alters gastric sensory and motor function. Increased activation of afferents will trigger vagovagal reflexes, thereby further changing motility and indirectly activating sensory neurons. Thus afferent and efferent pathways both contribute to the development of dyspeptic symptoms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies have demonstrated an association between visceral inflammation, an increase in nerve growth factor (NGF) expression, and development of hyperalgesia. Because multiple mediators are released during inflammatory processes, we examined the effect of NGF alone using viral gene transfer in vivo. Replication-deficient adenoviral vectors encoding for NGF or beta-galactosidase were injected into the bladder wall. NGF levels were determined with an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbance assay. Cystometrograms were obtained 3 and 5 days after gene transfer by using a surgically implanted bladder catheter in awake male rats. Although the treatment with a control virus did not change NGF levels compared with those of naive animals, the vector encoding for NGF increased NGF protein levels in the bladder 4-fold. Histologically, no evidence of inflammation was noted. Expression of NGF led to bladder overactivity, whereas beta-galactosidase expression was without effect. These data demonstrate that a transient increase in NGF expression without associated inflammation sensitizes visceral reflex pathways, leading to bladder overactivity. Treatment strategies targeting NGF signaling might be useful in disorders involving sensitization of peripheral nerves. PERSPECTIVE: Growth factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory pain. This study uses gene transfer to demonstrate that NGF sensitizes afferent pathways in the absence of inflammation, making it a potentially relevant treatment target.
Journal of Pain 05/2004; 5(3):150-6. · 3.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in visceral sensation contribute to the development of dyspepsia. Nonhuman models have previously focused on responses to mechanical stimulation. We studied the response to acid stimulation in the normal and inflamed stomach in rats.
A balloon and gastrostomy catheter were implanted into the stomach. Electromyographic responses to gastric balloon distention or acid administration through the gastrostomy were recorded from the acromiotrapezius muscle. To characterize chemonociceptive pathways, 0.75 mL HCl (0.05-0.3 N) or saline were given intragastrically in controls and animals after vagotomy, splanchnic nerve resection, or chemical denervation with capsaicin. The effect of inflammation was examined after induction of mild diffuse gastritis using iodoacetamide or creating gastric ulcers by injecting 60% acetic acid for 45 seconds into a clamped area of the stomach.
Visceromotor electromyographic responses increased within 2 minutes after HCl administration (0.15 and 0.3 mol/L) but not saline or lower acid concentrations. Vagotomy and pretreatment with capsaicin but not splanchnic nerve resection abolished this response. Prior acid administration did not acutely sensitize animals to subsequent gastric distention. Gastritis and gastric ulcers enhanced the visceromotor responses to intragastric acid.
In awake rats, visceromotor responses to intragastric acid are quantifiable, reliable, and reproducible. Aversive responses to acute noxious chemical stimuli primarily require vagal but not spinal sensory pathways. Injury-induced sensitization to intragastric acid administration is consistent with a potential role of chemical stimulation in triggering dyspeptic symptoms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that U50,488 [(trans-3,4-dichloro-N-methyl-N-[2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-cyclohexyl]benzeneacetamide] enantiomers contribute to visceral antinociception by a nonopioid receptor-mediated blockade of sodium currents in colon sensory neurons. The present experiments were undertaken to examine the effect of arylacetamide kappa-opioid receptor agonists (kappa-ORAs) U50,488 and EMD 61,753 [(N-methyl-N-[1S)-1-phenyl)-2-(13S))-3-hydroxypyrrolidine-1-yl)-ethyl]-2,2-diphenylacetamide HCl] on tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) and -resistant (TTX-R) sodium currents, and the mechanism of their sodium channel-blocking actions. Whole cell patch-clamp experiments were performed on colon sensory neurons from the S1 dorsal root ganglion identified by content of retrograde tracer 1.1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine metanesulfonate. The concentration-response curves of U50,488 and EMD 61,753, for tonic inhibition of total, TTX-S, and TTX-R sodium currents were similar (EC50 values for U50,488 and EMD 61,753 were 8.4 +/- 1.69 and 1.2 +/- 1.78 microM, respectively). In contrast, the peptide kappa-ORA dynorphin was without effect in these experiments. U50,488 (10 microM) shifted the voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation curves for total, TTX-S, and TTX-R currents to more negative potentials. Inhibition was present at holding potentials of -100 to -20 mV. After the tonic block elicited by 10 microM U50,488, repetitive stimulation with 5-ms depolarizing pulses at a frequency of 3 Hz further enhanced the inhibition of total, TTX-R, and TTX-S currents by 43.8 +/- 4.9, 46.2 +/- 4.9, and 40 +/- 3.2%, respectively. These results demonstrate that arylacetamide kappa-ORAs nonselectively inhibit voltage-evoked sodium currents in a manner similar to local anesthetics, by enhancing closed-state inactivation and induction of use-dependent block.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 11/2003; 307(1):367-72. · 3.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently demonstrated an association between the development of hyperalgesia and an increase in nerve growth factor (NGF) during gastric inflammation. We hypothesized that block of NGF signalling will blunt injury-induced hyperalgesia. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (300-400 g) were anaesthetized, the stomach was exposed and placed in a circular clamp. Acetic acid (60%) or saline (control) was injected into this area and aspirated 45 s later, resulting in kissing ulcers. A balloon was surgically placed into the stomach and electromyographic responses to gastric distension (GD) were recorded from the acromiotrapezius muscle. Animals received a daily injection of neutralizing NGF antibody or control serum for 5 days. NGF in the stomach wall was measured with an ELISA. The severity of gastric injury was assessed macroscopically and by determination of myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. Gastric injury enhanced the visceromotor response to GD and increased NGF content. Anti-NGF significantly blunted the development of hyperalgesia and led to a decrease in gastric wall thickness and MPO activity. Increases in NGF contribute to the development of hyperalgesia after gastric injury. This may be partly mediated by direct effects on afferent nerves and indirectly by modulatory effects on the inflammatory response.
Neurogastroenterology and Motility 09/2003; 15(4):355-61. · 2.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurotrophic factors maintain and modulate neuron function in adults. We tested the hypothesis that neurotrophic factors rapidly alter intracellular calcium concentrations, thereby affecting neuron excitability. The majority of rat nodose neurons express TrkA, TrkB and TrkC receptor after 1 day in culture. Addition of nerve growth factor, brain derived neurotrophic factor or glial derived neurotrophic factor increased cytosolic calcium in about one third of the neurons within less than 10 min. This increase was due to calcium release from intracellular stores and could be blocked by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor K252a. The rapid effect of neurotrophic factors suggests a role of these molecules in the early response after inflammation as potential mediators for sensitization of afferent neurons.