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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Dec 2023 - 5 Jan 2024

2023 Dec 29



Activation of 5-HT receptor in the ventrolateral orbital cortex produces antinociceptive effects in rat models of neuropathic and inflammatory pain.


Zhao YL, Xu JL, Yi HY, Baba SS, Guo YX, Hou XM, Yuan XC, Li XH, Wang YY, Liang LL, Huo FQ


The ventrolateral orbital cortex (VLO) is identified as an integral component of the endogenous analgesic system comprising a spinal cord – thalamic nucleus submedius – VLO – periaqueductal gray (PAG) – spinal cord loop. The present study investigates the effects of 5-HT receptor activation in the VLO on allodynia induced by spared nerve injury and formalin-evoked flinching behavior and spinal c-Fos expression in male SD rats, and further examines whether GABAergic modulation is involved in the effects evoked by VLO 5-HT receptor activation. We found an upregulation of 5-HT receptor expression in the VLO during neuropathic and inflammatory pain states. Microinjection of the non-selective 5-HT receptor agonist 5-CT into the VLO dose dependently alleviated allodynia, and flinching behavior and spinal c-Fos expression, which were blocked by the selective 5-HT receptor antagonist SB-699551. Moreover, application of the GABA receptor antagonist bicuculline in the VLO augmented the analgesic effects induced by 5-CT in neuropathic and inflammatory pain states, whereas the GABA receptor agonist muscimol attenuated these analgesic effects. Additionally, the 5-HT receptors were found to be colocalized with GABAergic neurons in the VLO. These results provide new evidence for the involvement of central 5-HT receptors in the VLO in modulation of neuropathic and inflammatory pain and support the hypothesis that activation of 5-HT receptors may inhibit the inhibitory effect of GABAergic interneurons on output neurons projecting to the PAG (GABAergic disinhibitory mechanisms), consequently activating the brainstem descending inhibitory system that depresses nociceptive transmission at the spinal cord level.