Preemptive intrathecal administration of endomorphins relieves inflammatory pain in male mice via inhibition of p38 MAPK signaling and regulation of inflammatory cytokines.
BACKGROUND: Preemptive administration of analgesic drugs reduces perceived pain and prolongs duration of antinociceptive action. Whereas several lines of evidence suggest that endomorphins, the endogenous mu-opioid agonists, attenuate acute and chronic pain at the spinal level, their preemptive analgesic effects remain to be determined. In this study, we evaluated the anti-allodynic activities of endomorphins and explored their mechanisms of action after preemptive administration in a mouse model of inflammatory pain. METHODS: The anti-allodynic activities of preemptive intrathecal administration of endomorphin-1 and endomorphin-2 were investigated in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)-induced inflammatory pain model and paw incision-induced postoperative pain model. The modulating effects of endomorphins on the expression of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and inflammatory mediators in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of CFA-treated mice were assayed by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blotting, or immunofluorescence staining. RESULTS: Preemptive intrathecal injection of endomorphins dose-dependently attenuated CFA-induced mechanical allodynia via the mu-opioid receptor and significantly reversed paw incision-induced allodynia. In addition, CFA-caused increase of phosphorylated p38 MAPK in DRG was dramatically reduced by preemptive administration of endomorphins. Repeated intrathecal application of the specific p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 reduced CFA-induced mechanical allodynia as well. Further RT-PCR assay showed that endomorphins regulated the mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines in DRGs induced by peripheral inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal a novel mechanism by which preemptive treatment of endomorphins attenuates inflammatory pain through regulating the production of inflammatory cytokines in DRG neurons via inhibition of p38 MAPK phosphorylation.
Zhang, T; Zhang, N; Zhang, R; Zhao, W; Chen, Y; Wang, Z; Xu, B; Zhang, M; Shi, X; Zhang, Q; Guo, Y; Xiao, J; Chen, D; Fang, Q
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