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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activation of spinal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors stimulates a nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine 3,5-monophosphate/glutamate release cascade in nociceptive signaling.

BACKGROUND: Increasing evidence has suggested the possibility that the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors modulates spinal nociceptive transmission via a nitric oxide (NO)/cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP) pathway. However, the existence and the role of an NO/cGMP pathway in the modulation of spinal nociceptive transmission has been unclear. The authors hypothesized that the activation of NMDA receptors stimulates an NO/cGMP pathway, and this pathway evokes glutamate release within the spinal cord, modulating spinal nociceptive transmission. METHODS: The authors have examined the effects of an NO synthase inhibitor and a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor on the concentrations of NO metabolites (NO2-/NO3-) and glutamate in the cerebrospinal fluid after intrathecal perfusion of NMDA, concomitantly observing pain-related behavior (scratching, biting, and vocalization) in unanesthetized, free-moving rats using an intrathecal microdialysis method. The contents of cGMP in the dorsal horn were also measured using enzyme immunoassay method. RESULTS: Intrathecal perfusion of NMDA produced pain-related behavior and increased glutamate and NO2-/NO3-concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. A competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, D,L-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid, completely blocked the NMDA-induced responses. An NO synthase inhibitor, N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine acetate, at a dose that completely blocked the increase in NO2-/NO3-, inhibited both the NMDA-induced pain-related behavior and the increase in glutamate concentration. In addition, a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor, 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazole[4,3-a]quinoxaline-1-one, also inhibited significantly NMDA-induced pain-related behavior and the increase in glutamate concentration. NMDA induced an increase in cGMP in the dorsal half of the spinal cord, which was blocked by N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine acetate. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study support the hypothesis that the activation of NMDA receptors modulated pain-related behavior via an NO/cGMP/glutamate release cascade within the spinal cord.[1]


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