We previously demonstrated that intrathecal IL-1β caused thermal hyperalgesia in rats. This study was conducted to examine the effects and cellular mechanisms of glial inhibitors on IL-1β-induced nociception in rats. The effects of minocycline (20 μg), fluorocitrate (1 nmol), and SB203580 (5 μg) on IL-1β (100 ng) treatment in rats were measured by nociceptive behaviors, western blotting of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, cerebrospinal fluid nitric oxide (NO) levels, and immunohistochemical analyses. The results demonstrated that intrathecal IL-1β activated microglia and astrocytes, but not neurons, in the dorsal horn of the lumbar spinal cord, as evidenced by morphological changes and increased immunoreactivity, phosphorylated p38 (P-p38) MAPK, and iNOS expression; the activation of microglia and astrocytes peaked at 30 min and lasted for 6 h. The immunoreactivities of microglia and astrocytes were significantly increased at 30 min (6.6- and 2.7-fold, respectively) and 6 h (3.3- and 4.0-fold, respectively) following IL-1β injection, as compared with saline controls at 30 min (all P< 0.01). IL-1β induced P-p38 MAPK and iNOS expression predominantly in microglia and less in astrocytes. Minocycline, fluorocitrate, or SB203580 pretreatment suppressed this IL-1β-upregulated P-p38 MAPK mainly in microglia and iNOS mainly in astrocytes; minocycline exhibited the most potent effect. Minocycline and fluorocitrate pretreatment abrogated IL-1β-induced NO release and thermal hyperalgesia in rats. In conclusion, minocycline, fluorocitrate, and SB203580 effectively suppressed the IL-1β-induced central sensitization and hyperalgesia in rats.
These results suggest that the antiinflammatory effect of amitriptyline on morphine tolerance, probably acting by increasing IL-10 expression, is mediated by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase heme oxygenase-1 signal transduction cascade.
The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of ultra-low-dose naloxone on pertussis toxin (PTX)-induced thermal hyperalgesia in rats and its underlying mechanisms. Male Wistar rats, implanted with an intrathecal catheter with or without a microdialysis probe, received a single intrathecal injection of PTX (1 mg in 5 ml saline). Four days after PTX injection, they were randomly given a different dose of naloxone (either 15 mg or 15 ng in 5 ml saline), followed by a morphine injection (10 mg in 5 ml saline) after 30 min. The results found that PTX injection induced thermal hyperalgesia and increasing excitatory amino acid (EAA; L-glutamate and L-aspartate) concentration in the spinal CSF dialysates. Ultra-low-dose naloxone not only preserved the antinociceptive effect of morphine but also suppressed the PTX-evoked EAA release as well. Moreover, ultra-low-dose naloxone plus morphine administration inhibited the downregulation of L-glutamate transporters (GTs) and the L-glutamate-metabolizing enzyme glutamine synthetase (GS), and, moreover, inhibited microglial activation and suppressed cytokine expression in PTX-treated rat spinal cords. These results show that ultra-low-dose naloxone preserves the antinociceptive effect of morphine in PTX-treated rats. The mechanisms include (a) inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, (b) attenuation of PTX-evoked EAA release, and (c) reversion of the downregulation of GT expression.
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