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

Nociception in cyclooxygenase isozyme-deficient mice.

Prostaglandins formed by cyclooxygenase-1 ( COX-1) or COX-2 produce hyperalgesia in sensory nerve endings. To assess the relative roles of the two enzymes in pain processing, we compared responses of COX-1- or COX-2-deficient homozygous and heterozygous mice with wild-type controls in the hot plate and stretching tests for analgesia. Preliminary observational studies determined that there were no differences in gross parameters of behavior between the different groups. Surprisingly, on the hot plate (55 degrees C), the COX-1-deficient heterozygous groups showed less nociception, because mean reaction time was longer than that for controls. All other groups showed similar reaction times. In the stretching test, there was less nociception in COX-1-null and COX-1-deficient heterozygotes and also, unexpectedly, in female COX-2-deficient heterozygotes, as shown by a decreased number of writhes. Measurements of mRNA levels by reverse transcription-PCR demonstrated a compensatory increase of COX-1 mRNA in spinal cords of COX-2-null mice but no increase in COX-2 mRNA in spinal cords of COX-1-null animals. Thus, compensation for the absence of COX-1 may not involve increased expression of COX-2, whereas up-regulation of COX-1 in the spinal cord may compensate for the absence of COX-2. The longer reaction times on the hot plate of COX-1-deficient heterozygotes are difficult to explain, because nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs have no analgesic action in this test. Reduction in the number of writhes of the COX-1-null and COX-1-deficient heterozygotes may be due to low levels of COX-1 at the site of stimulation with acetic acid. Thus, prostaglandins made by COX-1 mainly are involved in pain transmission in the stretching test in both male and female mice, whereas those made by COX-2 also may play a role in the stretching response in female mice.[1]


  1. Nociception in cyclooxygenase isozyme-deficient mice. Ballou, L.R., Botting, R.M., Goorha, S., Zhang, J., Vane, J.R. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
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