Pain Facilitatory Cells in Rostral Ventromedial Medulla: Neurons Coexpressing Cholecystokinin-2 and Mu-Opioid Receptors
Committee ChairLai, Josephine
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation will examine the phenotype of pain facilitatory neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) and its role in neuropathic pain states. Activation of the descending facilitation pathways might be the result of plasticity in the RVM that is driven, at least in part, by the presence and activity of cholecystokinin type-2 receptors (CCK2R) mRNA expressing neurons. The expression of either opioid mu receptors (MOR) or CCK2R mRNA in the RVM was confirmed by in situ hybridization (ISH). Pretreatment with CCK8(s)-saporin resulted in a significant loss of CCK2R mRNA positive cells in the RVM, concomitant with a blockade of CCK8(s) induced hyperalgesia. The same treatment also significantly reduced the number of neurons labeled for MOR mRNA, hinting that MOR and CCK2R mRNA signals may be co-localized in some RVM cells. Consistent with these data, pretreatment with dermorphin-saporin significantly reduced the number of MOR mRNA labeled cells in the RVM, blocked RVM CCK8(s) induced hyperalgesia and reduced the number of CCK2R mRNA positive cells in the RVM. The co-localization was further confirmed by a dual label ISH approach using 35S-labeled CCK2R and Digoxigenin-labeled MOR riboprobes. Data showed that over 80% of labeled RVM neurons co-expressed both MOR and CCK2R mRNA, ~15% expressed only CCK2R mRNA, and very few cells expressed only MOR mRNA. The above findings may suggest that elimination of CCK2R mRNA expressing neurons result in removal of the driving force for descending facilitation from RVM, hereby block the development of neuropathic pain. Rats pretreated with CCK8(s)-saporin conjugates had a full reversal of thermal sensory threshold and partial reversal of tactile threshold starting at day 5 after SNL. The lesion effects of RVM CCK-SAP were evaluated by ISH. Comparing to saporin pretreated groups, CCK8(s)-saporin pretreatment significantly reduced the numbers of CCK2R mRNA labeled neurons within RVM. The data suggest that selective ablation of CCK2R mRNA expressing cells in RVM is sufficient to block the development of neuropathic pain, and thus confirm the hypothesis that CCK2R mRNA expressing cells may be an important player in descending facilitation from RVM as a mechanism of neuropathic pain.
Degree ProgramPharmacology & Toxicology