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Papers of the Week

2022 Sep 10

Life (Basel)



Hypothalamic A11 Nuclei Regulate the Circadian Rhythm of Spinal Mechanonociception through Dopamine Receptors and Clock Gene Expression.


Piña-Leyva C, Lara-Lozano M, Rodríguez-Sánchez M, Vidal-Cantú GC, Barrientos Zavalza E, Jiménez-Estrada I, Delgado-Lezama R, Rodríguez-Sosa L, Granados-Soto V, González-Barrios J A, Florán-Garduño B
Life (Basel). 2022 Sep 10; 12(9).
PMID: 36143447.


Several types of sensory perception have circadian rhythms. The spinal cord can be considered a center for controlling circadian rhythms by changing clock gene expression. However, to date, it is not known if mechanonociception itself has a circadian rhythm. The hypothalamic A11 area represents the primary source of dopamine (DA) in the spinal cord and has been found to be involved in clock gene expression and circadian rhythmicity. Here, we investigate if the paw withdrawal threshold (PWT) has a circadian rhythm, as well as the role of the dopaminergic A11 nucleus, DA, and DA receptors (DR) in the PWT circadian rhythm and if they modify clock gene expression in the lumbar spinal cord. Naïve rats showed a circadian rhythm of the PWT of almost 24 h, beginning during the night-day interphase and peaking at 14.63 h. Similarly, DA and DOPAC's spinal contents increased at dusk and reached their maximum contents at noon. The injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the A11 nucleus completely abolished the circadian rhythm of the PWT, reduced DA tissue content in the lumbar spinal cord, and induced tactile allodynia. Likewise, the repeated intrathecal administration of D1-like and D2-like DA receptor antagonists blunted the circadian rhythm of PWT. 6-OHDA reduced the expression of and and increased gene expression during the day. In contrast, 6-OHDA diminished , , , , , , and at night. The repeated intrathecal administration of the D1-like antagonist (SCH-23390) reduced clock genes throughout the day ( and ) and throughout the night (, and ) whereas it increased and throughout the day. In contrast, the intrathecal injection of the D2 receptor antagonists (L-741,626) increased the clock genes , , and and decreased throughout the day. This study provides evidence that the circadian rhythm of the PWT results from the descending dopaminergic modulation of spinal clock genes induced by the differential activation of spinal DR.