Opioids inhibit release of primary afferent transmitters but it is unclear whether the converse occurs. To test the hypothesis that primary afferent transmitters influence opioid-ergic tone, we studied the functional and anatomical relationships between pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and dynorphin 1-17 (Dyn) in spinal cord. We found that activation of the PACAP-specific receptor PAC1 (PAC1R) inhibited, whereas PAC1R blockade augmented, spinal release of Dyn. It is noteworthy that in the formalin-induced pain model PAC1R blockade (via PACAP6-38) also resulted in antinociception that was abolished by spinal κ-opioid receptor blockade. These findings indicate that Dyn release is tonically inhibited by PACAP and that blocking this inhibition, which increases the spinal release of Dyn, results in antinociception. Consistent with this conclusion, we found in the spinal dorsal horn that Dyn-immunoreactive neurons 1) expressed PAC1R and 2) were apposed by PACAP terminals. Present results, in combination with the previous demonstration that the release of spinal Dyn is tonically inhibited by opioid- and nociceptin/orphanin FQ-coupled pathways (J Pharmacol Exp Ther 298:1213-1220, 2001), indicate that spinal Dyn-ergic neurons integrate multiple inhibitory inputs, the interruption of any one of which (i.e., disinhibition) is sufficient to enhance spinal Dyn release and generate antinociception. Gaining a better understanding of the role of primary afferent neurotransmitters in negatively modulating the spinal release of Dyn and the physiological use of disinhibition to increase spinal Dyn activity could suggest novel clinically useful approaches for harnessing endogenous Dyn for pain control.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics|
|State||Published - Feb 1 2011|