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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Apr 2022 - 15 Apr 2022

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Apr 02

Int J Mol Sci



Pain Modulation from the Locus Coeruleus in a Model of Hydrocephalus: Searching for Oxidative Stress-Induced Noradrenergic Neuroprotection.



Pain transmission at the spinal cord is modulated by noradrenaline (NA)-mediated actions that arise from supraspinal areas. We studied the locus coeruleus (LC) to evaluate the expression of the cathecolamine-synthetizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and search for local oxidative stress and possible consequences in descending pain modulation in a model of hydrocephalus, a disease characterized by enlargement of the cerebral ventricular system usually due to the obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow. Four weeks after kaolin injection into the cisterna magna, immunodetection of the catecholamine-synthetizing enzymes TH and dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH) was performed in the LC and spinal cord. Colocalization of the oxidative stress marker 8-OHdG (8-hydroxyguanosine; 8-OHdG), with TH in the LC was performed. Formalin was injected in the hindpaw both for behavioral nociceptive evaluation and the immunodetection of Fos expression in the spinal cord. Hydrocephalic rats presented with a higher expression of TH at the LC, of TH and DBH at the spinal dorsal horn along with decreased nociceptive behavioral responses in the second (inflammatory) phase of the formalin test, and formalin-evoked Fos expression at the spinal dorsal horn. The expression of 8-OHdG was increased in the LC neurons, with higher co-localization in TH-immunoreactive neurons. Collectively, the results indicate increased noradrenergic expression at the LC during hydrocephalus. The strong oxidative stress damage at the LC neurons may lead to local neuroprotective-mediated increases in NA levels. The increased expression of catecholamine-synthetizing enzymes along with the decreased nociception-induced neuronal activation of dorsal horn neurons and behavioral pain signs may indicate that hydrocephalus is associated with alterations in descending pain modulation.