Protein kinase C is partly involved in c-fos protein expression of nocuously-activated neurons but may not in concomitant odulatory action through opioid receptors at the spinal level in rats

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Journal Title:
Volume 56, Issue 04, 2004
Key Word:
immunocytochemistry;nociception;dorsal horn neurons;c-fos protein;protein kinase C μμ-opioid receptor;formalin test;rat

Abstract: The present study was aimed to examine if protein kinase C (PKC) activation is necessarily involved in both the c-fos protein expression in the nocuously-activated c-fos protein-like immunoreactive (Fos-LI) neurons and the concomitant opioid receptor-mediated modulation in the dorsal horn circuitry of the spinal cord. Formalin was injected into a hindpaw of rats 5 min after the rats were pretreated with intrathecal (i.t.) administration of chelerythrine (Chel), an inhibitor of PKC, naloxone (Nal), combined administration of these two (Chel +Nal), or vehicle (n=5 in each group),respectively. By using immunocytochemical techniques, the formalin-induced Fos-LI neurons in the lumbar dorsal horn were calculated 1 h after formalin injection. The results showed that: (1) i.t. Chel significantly reduced the number of FosLI neurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord on the side ipsilateral to the formalin injection, showing a decrease by 60.3% (P<0.001) as compared to that observed in the i.t.vehicle group; (2) i.t. Nal significantly increased the number of Fos-LI neurons in the ipsilateral dorsal horn,with an increase of 46.0% (P<0.01) as compared to that in the i.t. vehicle group, the highest percentage increase being found in the deeper laminae of the dorsal horn; and (3) i.t. Chel + Nal also exhibited a significant decrease in Fos-LI neurons in the ipsilateral dorsal horn as compared to i.t. Nal group, showing a reduction of 53.2%, a value similar to that in the i.t. Chel group. These results suggest that: (1) PKC plays a role in the c-fos protein expression only in nearly one half of the Fos-LI neurons in the dorsal horn; and (2) PKC is possibly not involved in the concomitant modulaion on the nociception mediated by μ- (and also partly δ-) opioid receptors in the spinal cord.

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