One of the major unresolved issues in treating pain is the paradoxical hyperalgesia produced by opiates, and accumulating evidence implicate that EphBs receptors and ephrinBs ligands are involved in mediation of spinal nociceptive information and central sensitization, but the manner in which ephrinB/EphB signalling acts on spinal nociceptive information networks to produce hyperalgesia remains enigmatic. The objective of this research was to investigate the role of ephrinB/EphB signalling in remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia (RIH) and its downstream effector.
We characterized the remifentanil-induced pain behaviours by evaluating thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in a rat hind paw incisional model. Protein expression of EphB1 receptor and ephrinB1 ligand in spinal dorsal horn cord was determined by Western blotting, and Fos was determined by immunohistochemistry assay, respectively. To figure out the manner in which ephrinB/EphB signalling acts with N-methyl- d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor, we used MK-801, an antagonist of NMDA receptor, trying to suppressed the hyperalgesia induced by ephrinB1-Fc, an agonist of ephrinB/EphB.
Continuing infusion of remifentanil produced a thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, which was accompanied with increased protein expression of spinal-level EphB1 receptor, ephrinB1 ligand and Fos; what appeared above was suppressed by pretreatment with EphB1-Fc, an antagonist of ephrinB/EphB or MK-801, and increased pain behaviours induced by intrathecal injection of ephrinB1-Fc, an agonist of ephrinB/EphB, were suppressed by MK-801.
Our findings indicated that ephrinB/EphB signalling is involved in RIH. EphrinB/EphB signalling might be the upstream of NMDA receptor.
EphBs receptors and ephrinBs ligands are involved in mediation of spinal nociceptive information and central sensitization.
The combination of EphB receptor and N-methyl- d-aspartic acid receptor induces long-term potentiation that is critical for causing excitation of spinal neuron and pain hyperalgesia.