Neurotropin alleviates rat osteocarcinoma pain via P2X3 receptor activation in the midbrain periaqueductal gray

Document Type : Original Article


1 Key Laboratory of Brain Science, Zunyi Medical University, No.6 West Xuefu Road, Xinpu District, Zunyi, Guizhou, China

2 Graduate School, Zunyi Medical University, No.6 West Xuefu Road, Xinpu District, Zunyi, Guizhou, China


Objective(s): Clinically effective analgesia treatment for patients afflicted with osteocarcinoma lessens the intensity of pain. The midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) plays a critical role in pain modulation, and activation of P2X3 receptors in this region mediates pain processing. Neurotropin is a small molecule drug used for analgesic treatment of a number of chronic pain conditions. The present study aims at determining whether P2X3 receptor activation in PAG is responsible for the analgesic effect of neurotropin in rats with osteocarcinoma pain. 
Materials and Methods: The tibia of female Sprague-Dawley rats was inoculated with breast carcinoma cells to establish the osteocarcinoma pain model. The effects of intraperitoneal injection of 6, 12, and 18 neurotropin units (NU)/kg on pain threshold and receptor expression of P2X3 in the ventrolateral PAG (vlPAG) were assessed. The P2X3 receptor antagonist A-317491 (1.5 nmol/0.3 µl) was administered into vlPAG with a high-dose neurotropin (18 NU/kg) to determine the role of this receptor in the analgesic effect. 
Results: The pain thresholds of the rats with osteocarcinoma pain continuously decreased, whereas P2X3 receptor expression in vlPAG only slightly increased after osteocarcinoma cell inoculation. Neurotropin substantially elevated the pain threshold and P2X3 receptor expression in vlPAG in a dose-dependent manner. A-317491 microinjection into vlPAG significantly reduced the analgesic effects of neurotropin in the rats with osteocarcinoma pain.
Conclusion: Through these findings, it is shown that vlPAG P2X3 receptor activation participates in neurotropin-mediated analgesia mechanism in osteocarcinoma pain.


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