Activation of central 5HT2A receptors reduces the craniofacial nociception of rats

K. Okamoto, H. Imbe, A. Kimura, T. Donishi, Y. Tamai, E. Senba

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23 Scopus citations


We assessed the contribution of central 5HT2A receptors to the craniofacial tissue nociception in naïve male rats. First, we tested whether activation of central 5HT2A receptors affected nociceptive neural activities recorded from superficial laminae of the trigeminal subnucleus caudalis (Vc)/upper cervical spinal cord junction (Vc/C2) region. Two types of units, such as deep-nociceptive or skin-wide dynamic range (WDR) units were identified from extracellular recordings. Topical administration of 5HT2A receptor agonist, (±)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) onto the Vc/C2 region significantly reduced deep-nociceptive unit discharges evoked by formalin injection into the masseter muscle. Noxious pinch stimulation to the facial skin-evoked skin-WDR unit discharges was significantly reduced by topical administration of 0.1 mg/rat DOI onto the Vc/C2 region. Second, we tested whether i.c.v. administration of DOI affected Fos-like immunoreactivity (-LI) evoked by formalin injection into the masseter muscle. Fos-LI was significantly induced mainly at the ventrolateral (vl) area of trigeminal subnucleus interpolaris (Vi)/Vc junction (vl-Vi/Vc) region and Vc/C2 region in vehicle-treated rats. Formalin-evoked Fos-LI was significantly reduced in laminae I-II of the Vc/C2, but not vl-Vi/Vc region after i.c.v. administration of DOI. Finally, orofacial nocifensive behavioral activities evoked by formalin injection into the masseter muscle were significantly reduced by intracisternal administration of DOI. These results suggest that 5HT2A receptors in the Vc/C2 region mediate antinociceptive effects in the craniofacial nociception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1102
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 29 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Japan (No. 17791326).


  • 5HT
  • 5HT2A receptor
  • descending pain controls
  • masseter muscle
  • orofacial pain
  • trigeminal subnucleus caudalis


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