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

Enhanced responses of spinothalamic tract neurons to excitatory amino acids accompany capsaicin-induced sensitization in the monkey.

Sensitization of the responses of dorsal horn neurons to mechanical stimulation may play a role in the generation of hyperalgesia. Intradermal injection of capsaicin (CAP) provides a model of experimental hyperalgesia that possesses a component of allodynia. This hyperalgesia is produced by chemical stimulation of C-fibers, leading to sensitization of dorsal horn neurons, including spinothalamic tract (STT) cells. The changes in the physiological responses of STT neurons following intradermal CAP in monkeys parallel the acute pain and hyperalgesia produced by intradermal CAP in humans. The present study addresses the role that excitatory amino acids (EAAs) may play in the sensitization of STT neurons by intradermal CAP. Our results show that the background discharge rate and the responses of STT cells to mechanical stimulation increase following intradermal CAP. In addition, the responses of the sensitized cells to one or more iontophoretically released EAA agonists, including NMDA, glutamate, aspartate, kainate, DL-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazoleproprionic acid, and/or quisqualate, increase following intradermal CAP. It is proposed that an increase in the responses of STT neurons to EAAs contributes to the hyperalgesia produced by this noxious chemical stimulus.[1]


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