Supraspinal antinociceptive effect of apelin-13 in a mouse visceral pain model
Apelin, as the endogenous ligand of the APJ receptor, is a novel identified neuropeptide whose biological functions are not fully understood. APJ receptor mRNA was found in several brain regions related to descending control system of pain, such as amygdala, hypothalamus and dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). The present study was designed to determine whether supraspinal apelin-13 may produce antinociceptive effect observed in the acetic acid-induced writhing test, a model of visceral pain. Apelin-13 not only significantly produced preemptive antinociception at the dose of 0.3, 0.5, 1 and 3 μg/mouse when injected intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) before acetic acid, but also significantly induced antinociception at a dose of 0.5, 1 and 3 μg/mouse when injected i.c.v. after acetic acid. And i.c.v. apelin-13 did not influence 30-min locomotor activity counts in mice. Intrathecal (i.t.) administration of apelin-13 (1 and 3 μg/mouse) significantly decreased the number of writhes, however, intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of apelin-13 (10-100 μg/mouse) had no effect on the number of writhes in the writhing test. The specific APJ receptor antagonist apelin-13(F13A), no-specific opioid receptor antagonist naloxone and μ-opioid receptor antagonist β-funaltrexamine hydrochloride (β-FNA) could significantly antagonize the antinociceptive effect of i.c.v. apelin-13, suggesting APJ receptor and μ-opioid receptor are involved in this process. Central low dose of apelin-13 (0.3 μg/mouse, i.c.v.) could significantly potentiate the analgesic potencies of modest and even relatively ineffective doses of morphine administrated at supraspinal level. This enhanced antinociceptive effect was reversed by naloxone, suggesting that the potentiated analgesic response is mediated by opioid-responsive neurons.
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