I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2022 May 05

J Exp Biol

Serotonin mediates stress-like effects on responses to non-nociceptive stimuli in Hirudo.


Mack D, Yevugah A, Renner K, Burrell BD
J Exp Biol. 2022 May 05.
PMID: 35510636.


Noxious stimuli can elicit stress in animals that produce a variety of adaptations including changes in responses to nociceptive and non-nociceptive sensory input. One example is stress-induced analgesia that may be mediated, in part, by the endocannabinoid system. However, endocannabinoids can also have pro-nociceptive effects. In this study, the effects of electroshock, one experimental approach for producing acute stress, were examined on responses to non-nociceptive mechanical stimuli and nociceptive thermal stimuli in the medicinal leech (Hirudo verbana). The electroshock stimuli did not alter Hirudo's responses to nociceptive stimuli, but did cause sensitization to non-nociceptive stimuli, characterized by a reduction in response threshold. These experiments were repeated with drugs that either blocked synthesis of the endocannabinoid transmitter 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) or transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) channel which is known to act as an endocannabinoid receptor. Surprisingly, neither treatment had any effect on responses following electroshock. However, the electroshock stimuli did reliably increase serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5HT) levels in the Hirudo CNS. Injection of 5HT mimicked the effects of the electroshocks, sensitizing responses to non-nociceptive stimuli and having no effect on responses to nociceptive stimuli. Injections of the 5HT receptor antagonist methysergide reduced the sensitization effect to non-nociceptive stimuli after electroshocks treatment. These results indicate that electroshocks enhance response to non-nociceptive stimuli but does not alter responses to nociceptive stimuli. Furthermore, while 5HT appears to play a critical role in this shock-induced sensitizing effect, the endocannabinoid system seems to have no effect.