The effect of fentanyl on c-fos expression in the trigeminal brainstem complex produced by pulpal heat stimulation in the ferret.
We have previously shown that Fos-like immunoreactivity (Fos-LI) is evoked in the brainstem of ferrets following stimulation of pulpal A delta and C fibers originating from the maxillary canine. This study evaluated the effects of the mu-opioid receptor agonist fentanyl on Fos expression evoked by noxious thermal stimulation of the right maxillary and mandibular canines in pentobarbital/chloral hydrate anesthetized adult male ferrets. Pulpal heating evoked Fos expression in two distinct regions of the spinal trigeminal nuclear complex: the transitional region between subnucleus interpolaris and caudalis (Vi/Vc) and within the subnucleus caudalis (Vc). More Fos positive cells were expressed in both regions ipsilateral to the site of stimulation compared with the contralateral side (P < 0.05, ANOVA). Pretreatment with fentanyl significantly and dose-dependently suppressed the number of Fos positive cells in both the Vi/Vc transitional region and Vc (P < 0.05, ANOVA). The suppressive effect of fentanyl on Fos expression was blocked by the intravenous administration of naloxone, an opioid antagonist, indicating a specific opioid receptor effect. In addition, opioid receptor antagonism with naloxone alone enhanced Fos expression in Vi/Vc and Vc in response to heat stimulation. The administration of naloxone without heat stimulation failed to evoke Fos expression in Vi/ Vc and Vc. These findings suggest that the activation of trigeminal Vi/Vc and Vc neurons by noxious dental heat stimulation is controlled by a naloxone sensitive endogenous opioid system as indicated by Fos expression. Collectively, these results suggest that neuronal populations in Vi/Vc and Vc regions may contribute to pain responses to noxious dental stimulation and these responses can be modulated by both endogenous and exogenous opioids.
Chattipakorn, SC; Light, AR; Willcockson, HH; Närhi, M; Maixner, W
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