Antinociceptive role of oxytocin in the nucleus raphe magnus of rats,
an involvement of mu-opioid receptor

by
Wang JW, Lundeberg T, Yu LC.
Laboratory of Neurobiology,
College of Life Sciences,
Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
Regul Pept. 2003 Oct 15;115(3):153-9


ABSTRACT

Recent studies showed that oxytocin plays an important role in nociceptive modulation in the central nervous system. The present study was undertaken to investigate the role of oxytocin in antinociception in the nucleus raphe magnus (NRM) of rats and the possible interaction between oxytocin and the opioid systems. Intra-NRM injection of oxytocin induced dose-dependent increases in hindpaw withdrawal latencies (HWLs) to noxious thermal and mechanical stimulation in rats. The antinociceptive effect of oxytocin was significantly attenuated by subsequent intra-NRM injection of the oxytocin antagonist 1-deamino-2-D-Tyr-(Oet)-4-Thr-8-Orn-oxytocin. Intra-NRM injection of naloxone dose-dependently antagonized the increased HWLs induced by preceding intra-NRM injection of oxytocin, indicating an involvement of opioid receptors in oxytocin-induced antinociception in the NRM of rats. Furthermore, the antinociceptive effect of oxytocin was dose-dependently attenuated by subsequent intra-NRM injection of the mu-opioid antagonist beta-funaltrexamine (beta-FNA), but not by the kappa-opioid antagonist nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) or the delta-opioid antagonist naltrindole. The results demonstrated that oxytocin plays an antinociceptive role in the NRM of rats through activating the oxytocin receptor. Moreover, mu-opioid receptors, not kappa and delta receptors, are involved in the oxytocin-induced antinociception in the NRM of rats.
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