Conditions such as hyperalgesia can occur days or months after the noxious insult. Substance P (SP) is released in response to noxious stimuli. Given the long-term effects of the N-terminus of SP on putative nociceptive transmitters, we investigated changes in formalin-induced nociception following an accumulation of SP N-terminal metabolites in mice. Pre-treatment with the N-terminal metabolite of SP, SP(1-7), was without effect when injected intrathecally (i.t.) 5 or 30 min before formalin. However, at 24 h, SP(1-7) increased behaviors during Phase 1, indicating hyperalgesia, and attenuated Phase 2 responses, consistent with antinociception. The nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester HCl (L-NAME), blocked both hyperalgesic and antinociceptive effects when co-injected with SP(1-7). Consistent with a NO-mediated pathway, L-arginine (L-arg), the N-terminal amino acid of SP and precursor to NO, mimicked the antinociceptive effect of SP(1-7) on Phase 2. The hyperalgesic effect of SP(1-7) in Phase 1, which was not mimicked by L-arg, was prevented by D-SP(1-7), a SP(1-7) antagonist. Thus, SP(1-7) modulates nociception via two distinct NO-mediated pathways. When injected for 7 days, tolerance developed to the antinociceptive effect of SP(1-7) on Phase 2, but not to the hyperalgesic effect on Phase 1. Intraperitoneally injected SP(1-7) also produced hyperalgesia during Phase 1, to which tolerance developed following seven daily injections. Together, these data support the hypothesis that an accumulation of SP N-terminal metabolites, either peripherally or within the spinal cord area, is sufficient for long-term modulation of multiple types of nociception with hyperalgesic responses being most persistent.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research is supported by US Public Health Service Grant DA04090 to A.A.L. and ADAMHA training grant T32 DA07234-06 to V.M.G.
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- formalin test (mouse)
- nitric oxide
- substance P N-terminus