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Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 13

Exp Neurol


Antinociceptive role of the thalamic dopamine D3 receptor in descending modulation of intramuscular formalin-induced muscle nociception in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease.


Lei J, Tang LL, Jing R, You HJ


Pain in Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been validated as one of the major non-motor dysfunctions affecting the quality of life and subsequent rehabilitation. In the present study, we investigated the role of the dopamine D3 receptor in the thalamic mediodorsal (MD) and ventromedial (VM) nuclei mediated descending control of nociception and intramuscular (i.m.) 2.5% formalin-induced persistent muscle nociception. Paw withdrawal reflexes were measured in naive rats and rats subjected to PD induced by unilateral microinjection of 6 μg 6-OHDA into the rat striatum. Formalin-induced muscle nociception in phase 1, inter-phase, and phase 2 was significantly greater in PD rats compared to naive and vehicle-treated rats (P ˂ 0.001). PD rats exhibited bilaterally mechanical hyperalgesia and heat hypoalgesia in formalin-induced muscle nociception. Microinjection of SK609, a dopamine D3 receptor agonist, at various doses (2.5-7.5 nmol/0.5 μl) into the thalamic VM nucleus dose-dependently prolonged heat-evoked paw withdrawal latencies in both naive and PD rats. Administration of SK609 to either the MD or VM nuclei had no effect on noxious mechanically evoked paw withdrawal reflexes. Pre-treatment of the thalamic MD nucleus with SK609 significantly attenuated formalin-induced nociception, and reversed mechanical hyperalgesia, but not heat hypoalgesia. Pre-treatment of the thalamic VM nucleus with SK609 inhibited formalin-induced nociception in the late phase of phase 2 (30-75 min) and heat hypoalgesia, but not mechanical hyperalgesia (P < 0.05). It is suggested that the dopamine D3 receptors in the thalamus play an antinociceptive role in the descending modulation of nociception. Activation of D3 receptors within the thalamic MD and VM nuclei attenuates descending facilitation and enhances descending inhibition in rats during PD.